Development of an intuitive controlled surgical manipulation system for the new generation of flexible instruments


New surgical techniques that cause fewer traumas to patients are developed. A shift from rigid to flexible surgical instruments gives a lot of opportunities in the field of minimal invasive (keyhole) interventions. Manipulation of these instruments however requires more skills. A manipulation system that provides intuitive control of the instruments will increase the opportunities of flexible instruments.

The TeleFLEX project team consists of four partners:

1. University of Twente

- Design, Production and Management

- Control Engineering

- Mechanical Automation and Mechatronics

- Clinical Technology

2. Thoraxcentre – Medical Spectrum Twente

3. DEMCON - company for advanced mechatronics

4. Industrial partner – instrument specialist


Minimal invasive surgery is beneficial for patients since it leads to faster recovery compared to traditional open surgery. For surgeons however life has become more complicated:

- Instruments are not able to transmit the same ‘sense of tissue’ as in open surgery.

- Manipulation of instruments is difficult

- No direct view on operation field. It is displayed on a screen.


Realization of a proof of principle, ready to be used in field-tests on anthropomorphic phantoms or animals. The manipulation system and its scientific foundation should contribute to the acceptance of robotic surgery and seen by surgeon (as well as hospital and patient) as added value.

The PhD candidate of DPM will research the use of haptic feedback, visual information and working posture as elements of intuitive control that can assist surgeons in performing a minimal invasive intervention more easily. The created knowledge should contribute to better future (surgical) robotic systems.

Contact information

Jeroen Ruiter, MSc / Phone: +31 (0) 53 489 3192 /

Jeroen Ruiter (1974) obtained his Master’s degree in Industrial Design Engineering at the Delft University of Technology in 2000. Since his graduation he has worked as product developer with a strong focus on medical products for Idéon Twente and from 2003 for DEMCON advanced mechatronics. In November 2008 he started part-time as PhD candidate to research and develop a surgical robotic manipulation system for the new generation of flexible instruments. This project will be executed in close cooperation with DEMCON.