Prof. Darwin Caldwell is Founding Director of the Italian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Genoa, Italy, where he is also the Director of the Dept. of Advanced Robotics. Caldwell pioneered the development of core technologies in compliant actuation, Soft and Human Friendly Robotics and the creation of ‘softer’, safer robots, drawing on developments in materials, mechanisms, sensing, actuation and software. These developments have been fundamental to applications in humanoids, quadrupeds and medical robotics.

Key robots developed in/by his group have included: iCub, a child-sized humanoid robot capable of crawling, grasping objects, and interacting with people; COMAN, a compliant humanoid robot designed to safely interact with people; WALK-MAN, a 1.85m tall, 120kg humanoid that competed in the DARPA Robotics Challenge; the HyQ series (HyQ, HyQ2Max, HyQ-Real) of high performance hydraulic quadrupedal robots; and the Centauro, a “human-robot symbiotic system capable of robust locomotion and dexterous manipulation in the rough terrain and disasters” (e.g. earthquake, nuclear, chemical).

Prof. Caldwell is or has been an Honorary professor at the University of Manchester, University of Sheffield, King’s College London, and the University of Bangor in the UK, and Tianjin University and SAAT in China. He has published over 600 papers, and has received over 50 awards/nominations at international conferences and events. In 2015 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering.


5G Robotic Telesurgery: Remote Transoral Laser Microsurgeries on a Cadaver


Robotic telesurgery as a concept was introduced over 30 years ago by NASA scientists tasked with providing healthcare for astronauts. In recent years it has attracted increasing interest for more down to earth medical interventions, where it is suggested that it will have many benefits, including the possibility to expand medical expertise to underserved locations and to avoid the need for long-distance travel by the surgeon or the patient. This can have a significant impact on the efficiency of healthcare systems and eliminate the risks and financial burdens associated with physical movements. However, the technical and user challenges are non-trivial and are often directly linked to the need to instantaneously transfer, in a secure and reliable manner, massive amounts of data between both ends of the system.

This presentation will describe a successful surgical intervention to perform complex transoral laser microsurgeries (ventriculotomy and cordectomies) on the vocal cords of an adult human cadaver located 15km from the surgeon’s site.  The presentation will explore technical (5G communication link, patient-side robotic systems, surgeon-side user interface and haptic systems) and the medical challenges involved in this form of intervention. The presentation will explore the benefits of ultra-high bandwidth (up to 10Gbps) allowing for precise remote control of the robotic instruments and full HD (1920×1280 pixels) 3D visualization of the surgical site, ultra-low latency (towards 1ms), ultra-reliability and massive connectivity (one million devices per square km).

Related events

Soft, smart, multifunctional, agile and aware surgical robots: Progress and technologies: Day 3

Talk: 5G Robotic Telesurgery: Remote Transoral Laser Microsurgeries on a Cadaver
Role: Speaker

11th June 2021, 14.00