In conversation with Mr. J. Cornejo
Mr. J. Cornejo is a Peruvian wizard and mechatronics engineer working in bioscience engineering. He was kind enough to chat with me about a recent project he designed an electromyogram (EMG) called “Biomediktronics, described as “a device could be used to treat people with paralysis in the upper limbs.” Biomediktronics is also the name of his company.
I don’t know a thing about EMG‘s or biomedical engineering, so I thought I’d ask him a few questions and try to understand his interest in this technology, the design process, and his current interests in surgical technologies.
Mr. Cornejo was kind enough to answer a few questions about this project and his work.
- How would you describe what you do professionally and academically?
My interests are biomechatronical design of surgical robotics in minimally invasive surgery, design of Biomedical Devices, organ 3D printing, and management of hospital resources to improve the healthcare environment and support in the surgical education and clinical practice.
I work with physicians, biologists, healthcare professionals and medical artists. I had the amazing opportunity to work in a hospital in Lima, with the Biomedical Engineering Department, where I supported surgeons with biomedical machines in the operating room during Laparoscopic procedures.
- What subjects have you studied in university? What do you like about it?
I have a B.S. in Mechatronics Engineering, with Minor in Biomedical Engineering, and during my undergraduate years, I took courses in medical mechatronics and biomechanics systems and also attended some lectures and courses at Harvard and MIT.
Biomedical engineering is my passion, when I was younger I wanted to be a physician but I thought “How I could combine the technology with Medicine and Biology?”, and I chose mechatronics with the goal to have researches in biomedical innovation applied on surgical robotics and surgical technologies.
Just fifty years ago, the field of biomedical engineering was limited to the scope of creating medical devices in order to improve the researches in the areas of biomechatronics, bionanotechnology, medical imaging, bioinstrumentation, telehealth, tissue engineering, neural-engineering, and biotechnology. Nowadays, physicians, biologist, healthcare professionals, engineers and architects work together to figure out the prevention, diagnosis, prognosis and treatment of the disease, and also the hospital environment that is a really important thing to give to the patient a quality assistance and support.
- What is Surgical Robotics Technology? What have you heard about that’s really exciting.
Nowadays, engineers with surgeons have started to develop new technologies to apply in the Surgical Procedures with the amazing benefits of better dexterity with multi-articulating instruments, improved 3D visualization, improved precision, automation of tasks and improved ergonomics. In the other hand, it has a tremendous benefits to patients such as quicker recovery, shorter hospital stay, reduced blood loss, reduced risk of infection and less pain. The pace of developments in the field is very rapid, and I am extremely excited by all the prospects that the field has to offer.
The biomedical engineering is developing surgical aid systems with robotic assistance and computer guidance which can provide surgeons with unobstructed visualization augmented with important real-time information. Also, the precision obtained by robotic manipulators, can improve some surgical outcomes and reduce the incidence of revision surgeries.
Other important advance in the technological surgical field is that in some countries, scientist are creating Virtual Surgery Training Centers, where surgeons, medical residents, and medical students can training with robotic and Laparoscopic Simulators, which is undoubtedly an important factor to be well prepared before making surgical procedures. Surgical simulators for surgical procedures are still quite rudimentary and provide limited unrealistic haptic feedback of important maneuvers like cutting tissue. Providing surgeons-in-training with more realistic simulations is an important step in improving surgical outcomes.
To enter in the field of surgical robotics, engineers should have aspects of mechanical design, software engineering, embedded systems, sensor technologies, interest in anatomical and physiological engineering. Besides, it is important to have backgrounds in mechanical engineering, electronics and electrical engineering, and systems engineering and computer science. That includes: solid modeling CAD software (SolidWorks, Autodesk Inventor, NX, etc.) and Programming knowledge (Matlab, C/C++, Python, Microcontrollers, etc.).
- What is most important advance in Surgical Robotics?
The greatest advance is that robots can perform surgical procedures by the guidance of a surgeon, the big machine has three main sections:
The tower, which is positioned over the patient during surgery, contains the robot’s three arms that can hold different surgical instruments, and a fourth that holds the system’s 3-D cameras. These arms are controlled by a computer that exactly replicates the movements of the operating surgeon.
The console is where the surgeon sits and operates the robot’s controls while looking into a stereoscopic monitor that provides a magnified, high definition 3-D view of the surgical site. The surgeon manipulates the robot’s four arms by maneuvering two master controls with haptic feedback that provide fingertip precision of movement.
Also, the surgeon operates a footswitch that provides additional options, such as the ability to switch between two different energy sources. Touchpads allow the surgeon to easily adjust video, audio and system settings, while the ergonomic console and the alignment of the controls and monitor are designed to keep the surgeon in a relaxed, focused position at all times.
Finally, additional video Screens link in the rest of the surgical team by providing a two-dimensional view of what the surgeon is looking at through the Stereoscopic monitor.
Surgical Robots include a number of features that make surgical procedures easier and more efficient than ever. These include:
3-D high-definition vision. The two stereoscopic high-definition cameras provide the surgeon with a magnified view of the surgical site that combines superbly accurate depth perception with a 40 percent sharper image then previous models.
An additional arm. which can be used to hold a retractor or other surgical instrument, gives the surgeon 50 percent more operating capability.
Instant image referencing. This innovative feature lets the surgeon display up to two diagnostic images of the area being operated on (such as ultrasound or CT scans taken prior to surgery) inside the monitor, directly alongside the view of the real-time procedure—providing a critical extra reference where necessary.
Extra-mobile of the wrists which can hold a wide array of but with even greater range of motion.
- What do you do in Boston? What are the benefits of this totally awesome technology?
I am exploring and learning new technologies that are developing in Boston about biomedical engineering, I have found particularly interesting the anatomical engineering design that is completely important to using in surgical guides, surgical training, and surgical simulation. I consider that the first step to be a successful Engineer specialized in surgical robotics is to know very well the anatomy and physiology of the human body part to applied that specific robotic procedure, such as gastroenterologic surgery, cardiac surgery, thoracic surgery, gynecologic surgery, etc. Therefore, the engineer will be well-prepared to face any biomedical challenges.
Thank you, J.!
Reads & References
- Robotica Aplicada en bioingenieria concytec
- My interview glossary
- Form Labs conference at MIT
- Da Vinci surgical system
Edited for emphasis. Feature image belongs to J.Cornejo! Posted with permission.