Medical and surgical robotics are one of the fastest growing sectors of service robotics, yielding important medical advances and great economic returns to the investors.

However, despite the impressive growth rate, the actual numbers of robot-assisted procedures and their impact are still very small in the medical field: robotic surgical interventions account for only the 0.05% of the total number of major surgeries done every year worldwide, and no clear medical benefit has emerged in most robot-assisted procedures with respect to Minimally Invasive Surgical (MIS) procedures.

We believe the reasons for this are primarily two: the huge cost of the devices that prevent their widespread usage, and the lack of diversified devices that can be used in lower cost procedures. In short, both reasons can be related to the high cost of medical robotics since it prevents smaller hospitals to use robots in their clinical practice and limits their applications to high cost procedures that guarantees the proper cost recovery.

In this workshop we want to explore the difficulties and the benefits of developing low cost medical robotic devices that can guarantee top performance at a fraction of the cost of current devices. The difficulties to achieve this goal are many, from the high cost of certification and experimentation to the marginal performance of low cost components. Thus, new algorithms need to be developed to achieve high performance from components derived from mass production products, and new certification procedures could be proposed to the notified bodies. Of course, if this approach will be successful, we could finally see robots integrated in all medical procedures.

Date: Sunday 26th June 2022

Time: 09:00 – 16:00

Call for abstracts

We invite abstract submissions for poster contributions to the workshop, relating to the broad areas of low cost medical and surgical robotics. Abstracts will be considered for poster and oral presentation, with presenters being automatically entered into a poster competition. Prizes will be announced during the workshop!

Submission guidelines

Your abstract should be no more than 200 words and should be submitted via this form. Successful submissions will be accepted for poster presentation with the best submissions also being selected for a short oral presentation.

  • Oral Presentations: 3 minutes followed by Q&A
  • We recommend presentation slides be set to 16:9 format
  • Poster dimensions: A0 or A1 portrait
  • Poster printing: there are no printing facilities at the venue so please print your poster before you arrive

Key dates

  • Confirmation of acceptance/rejection: Friday 17th June 2022

Topics include (but are not limited to)

  • Low cost medical and surgical robotics/devices
  • Rapid manufacture and single-use designs for medical/surgical devices
  • Health economics
  • Device usability and deployment studies
  • Imaging and image analysis for low-cost devices
  • Sensing technology for affordable surgery



08:30 – 09:00 Registration, Coffee & Poster setup
09:00 – 09:05 Pietro Valdastri: Welcome & Introduction
09:05 – 09:35 David Jayne, Leeds Teaching Hospital (Professor Colorectal Surgery) Keynote: Frugal innovation in surgical technology: our experience in the field (REMOTE)
09:35 – 09:50 Manish Chauhan, University of York (Lecturer in Medical Engineering): A low-fidelity box trainer for laparoscopic training
09:50 – 10:05 James Chandler, University of Leeds (Lecturer in Surgical Robotics): Soft and continuum robotics for affordable upper gastrointestinal endoscopy
10:05 – 10:20 Poster Pitches
10:20 – 10:40 Coffee Break
10:40 – 11:10 Prof. Asokan Thondiyath, Indian Institute of Technology Madras (Professor and Head of Department of Engineering Design): Keynote: Design and prototyping of a surgical robot for resource constrained environments
11:10 – 11:25 Tim Horeman, TU Delft (Assistant Professor): The future of advanced laparoscopic surgery; what sustainability?
11:25 – 1140 Paolo Fiorini, University of Verona, Italy (Professor): Expanding the reach of robotic surgery to low cost procedures
11:40 – 11:55 Peter Culmer, University of Leeds (Associate Professor Mechanical Engineering): The RAIS device for global surgery: navigating the translational pathway from clinical-need to clinical-use
11:55 – 12:00 Additional Poster Pitches (if needed)
12:00 – 13:00 Lunch Break
13:10 – 13:40 Prof Sanja Dogramadzi, The University of Sheffield (Professor of Medical Robotics): Keynote: Cost and functionality trade-offs  – when are complex machines useful for society?
13:40 – 14:10 Prof Xuanhe Zhao, MIT: Keynote: Low-cost soft neuroprosthetics and neurovascular surgery
14:10 – 14:30 Coffee Break
14:30 – 15:30 Round panel  Chair: Paolo Fiorini, Participants: All speakers
15:30 – 16:00 Closing Remarks


Learning Outcomes

The workshop will aim at stimulating discussion among the participants on the feasibility and difficulties of development and translation of low cost robotics into the healthcare setting.

The first part of the full day workshop will be dedicated to presentations from invited speakers related to significant low cost medical robotic solutions, health economics and relevant clinical/translational/industrial experience. An open call will be offered, with selection for oral and poster presentations. This part aims to give participants broad exposure to the pertinent topic areas associated with low-cost robotic diagnosis, surgery and rehabilitation.

The second part of workshop will be devoted to a round table, providing opportunity for collaborative discussion. This will aim to propose and consider research and innovation directions that could disrupt the current medical robotic market, and identify translational ‘blind spots’ through engagement with physicians, health economists, engineers and relevant industry. Following discussions, a small group of researchers interested in the topic of low-cost, high performance medical devices will be formed. This group will start drafting a white paper that we will submit to a leading journal (e.g. Science Robotics); reaffirming the importance of economic aspects in the design of medical products and indicating approaches to meet this goal.


This workshop is worth 6 CPD points, please register to qualify for certification.


Professor Asokan Thondiyath

  • Talk: Design and prototyping of a surgical robot for resource constrained environments
  • Role: Speaker

Manish Chauhan

  • Talk: A low-fidelity box trainer for laparoscopic training
  • Role: Speaker

David Jayne

  • Talk: Frugal innovation in surgical technology: our experience in the field
  • Role: Speaker

Dr James Chandler

James H. Chandler received the M.Eng. degree in mechanical engineering and the Ph.D. degree in…

  • Talk: Soft and continuum robotics for affordable upper gastrointestinal endoscopy
  • Role: Speaker

Dr. Peter Culmer

I am an Associate Professor in Healthcare Technologies, in the School of Mechanical Engineering at…

  • Talk: The RAIS device for global surgery: navigating the translational pathway from clinical-need to clinical-use
  • Role: Speaker

Professor Sanja Dogramadzi

Sanja Dogramadzi is Professor of Medical Robotics and Research Director at the Department of Automatic Control…

  • Talk: Cost and functionality trade-offs - when are complex machines useful for society?
  • Role: Speaker

Professor Xuanhe Zhao

  • Talk: Low-cost soft neuroprosthetics and neurovascular surgery
  • Role: Speaker