Dr. Davide Zerbato and his team at BBZ specialize in creating robotic surgery training systems. After working together at the University of Verona, Zerbato and colleagues founded BBZ in order to give doctors and surgeons in training the ability to experience a surgery without needing to operate on patients to gain that experience.
"Our vision is quite simple: surgeons currently acquire most of their skills during actual interventions on actual patients. Training in virtual environments can increase patient safety by training surgeons outside the operative room and by assessing surgeons' skills before they can intervene on actual patients. Our mission is to develop systems that effectively teach and assess surgical skills in virtual environments, to ensure that during interventions surgeon focuses on the patient and on the procedure and not on surgical tools." - Davide Zerbato, PhD.
BBZ has already successfully developed a customizable teleoperation console that is tailored to the individual users needs in order to create an ergonomic setup - all in a compact and easily transportable package. The portable system, including input devices and a pedal tray, fits into a standard suitcase.
Currently, Dr. Zerbato and his partners are focused on creating a training system for laparoscopic surgery. The project is made up of both hardware and software components. The hardware and mechanical system replicates laparoscopic tools and body access ports while the software simulates a virtual environment for the training.
"During real surgery the surgeon feels some force when interacting with objects, however rendering good forces would require complex and expensive hardware. Since we aim to provide an affordable and portable product we decided to substitute the "standard" force feedback with haptic feedback. For this reason we embedded [the] AST1013 device in one of our handles to evaluate its effectiveness for our project. Preliminary results are promising." - Davide Zerbato, PhD.
Our LRA Wirelings are being used to simulate feedback and tension that surgeons feel from the interaction with the real laparoscopic surgery practice! Early feedback from the laparoscopic training system are positive and users seem to move better when haptic feedback is enabled rather than when it is disabled. The next steps include completing the system and performing an objective evaluation with surgeons.
BBZ Technology Demo and Team
Davide and his team of University of Verona alumni are passionate about robotics. Two partners of the Italian company BBZ were involved in the development of Surgica Robotica SpA, and Davide was involved in an EU research project about patient safety in surgical robotics, SAFROS. With this experience, they were well suited to form a business around developing training systems for robotic surgery. Even without this experience, they still very likely could have ended up forming a different business around robotics together!
To learn more about Dr. Davide Zerbato and his company BBZ innovating in surgical training, check out their website: www.bbzsrl.com