Overwatch – Roadmap to Surgical Autonomy

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  • 2022

Designed By:

  • Epifanio Pereira

Commissioned By:

Epifanio Pereira

Designed In:

Australia

As new technology slowly assimilates into Operation theatres and combines with existing infrastructure, they present the potential to add higher levels of cognitive load to medical staff. The Overwatch framework targets future orthopaedic workflows and tackles emerging issues lowering error rates through the use of collaborative robotics and Ai.


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  • CHALLENGE
  • SOLUTION
  • IMPACT
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  • Overwatch responds to the design brief which aimed to lower the risk of surgical errors due to cognitive overload within an Orthopaedic context. The key criteria required an active solution that collected digitally trainable data over an extended period, both during the manual operation phase as well as during a future autonomous one. Additionally, the solution needed to address current cognitive load issues highlighted within today's operation theatres as medical teams circumvent semi-autonomy within robots and the increasing complexity of novel procedures.

  • The Conquest Dock and Tag collect data from surgeries via a host of sensors, while simultaneously tracking context-based decisions from the practising surgeon to later train an Ai. The tools also help surgical technologists organise their instruments and maintain surgical sterility during a procedure. The data collected, while used to train data sets, will also assist with the creation of an industry standard and allows different robots to communicate collaboratively under one centralised system, The Chronos Application, - reducing the cognitive load placed on the medical staff. Set over a 10year timeline, Overwatch supports staff on a digital and physical front.

  • Overwatch proposes an alternative future to surgery by studying the trends in emerging technologies and extrapolating their effects within the medical domain. As new technologies are implemented within surgical theatres, staff are faced with monitoring disjointed robotic systems. The overwatch framework aims to unify different autonomous systems by firstly establishing an industry standard within the surgical robotics domain, and secondly allowing for different competing robot services to function in collaboration with each other through a real-time digital twin simulation. This is an impactful solution made possible through the collaborative collection of surgery workflow data using the overwatch dock and tag.

  • An absence of an industry the standard was noted early on, and thus the Overwatch framework was proposed as a supporting framework to complement Dr Jaiprakash’s Surgical Automation and Communications System proposal – A roadmap to surgery 4.0 Overwatch's product portfolio has been developed to function within a 10-year development plan. The Conquest Tag, Conquest Dock and Overwatch Chronos management tool collect data from practising surgeons while training the next generation of robotic manipulators through digital mirroring. From a physical standpoint, the conquest tag and dock are defined primarily as utility devices – they allow surgical technologists to easily access endoscopy tools. Additional products such as cameras that capture RGB and depth information also help monitor how individual handheld tools are used throughout several thousand surgeries and assist with the creation of a digital twin and a robust training environment. A common ‘plug n play’ interface has also been proposed; the Overwatch Chronos application – which aims to showcase a system where several robots function together through the training of digital synthetic models and real-time analysis. This is a future vision concept demonstrating the ideal future the framework aims to achieve.