Prof. Alícia Casals | Group leader
Now: UPC / Associated researcher, IBEC
The growing potential of robotics in the medical field leads to face challenging problems, but at the same time creates great expectations in society, as new devices and equipment are envisioned as killing solutions with respect to current technology. The IBEC’s Robotics group research aims to contribute to the slow but continuous advances in the medical field, in the areas of assistance to disabled, in rehabilitation and assistance in surgery. A common factor in these three areas is the need of adaptation to the user’s needs, what implies perceiving not only the user’s will and status, but also the environment conditions and the evolution of the ongoing activity.
Our current research within the HYPER project (Hybrid Neuroprosthetic and Neurorobotic Devices for Functional Compensation and Rehabilitation of Motor Disorders) is to search for new adaptive control algorithms focusing on specific actions, as the transition from sit to stand or keeping the walking pattern under internal or external perturbations. This control has to deal with disturbances caused by muscle synergies, taking into account unpredictable effects of artificial stimulation in muscles during rehabilitation therapies or other effects as fatigue or the own user’s attention to the therapy. In this field, the work carried out has been focused on developing a control system with variable hierarchy and a status evaluator that allows adapting the control variables, mainly the variable stiffness at each joint, to reach the desired response and stability.
Being human-robot interaction a key factor in medical robotics, our research in assistive robotics is devoted to interpret human activity and the operation context so as to be able to program robots to cooperate proactively in assisting disabled in their daily tasks. This implies the extraction of relevant image features to recognize human posture and actions and relate them to the context environment and the evolution of tasks and activities, using recognition and learning techniques. The challenge is finding adequate algorithms that are reliable enough and can reduce the amount of data to process so as to be able to operate in real time. Figure 1 shows the original data, the human joints, and the reduction of triangles, trisarea feature, that define each posture in a sequence of poses corresponding to the human movement. For the adequate robot control this information has to be compatible with the environment status, thus perception and context interpretation is necessary. Further work has been done on the integration of multiple robot arms to deal with tasks that need cooperative actuation.
The research in surgical robots has progressed going deeper in the development of robot aids, as the analysis of tissues deformation aiming to solve problems as physiological movement detection for robot motion compensation or for estimation of the force applied on the tissues due to the lack of sensors to be integrated on the surgical tools. Fig. 2 shows a sequence of images of the heart and the changes produced on the heart surface by the forces applied. The image processing operates from the minimization of an energy functional using the l_1−regularized optimization class in which cubic b-splines are used to represent the changes produced on the heart surface.
In technology transfer, much progress has been done in the spin-off, Rob Surgical Systems S.L, having already started the experimentation with models in an experimental operating room and advancing in the regulatory process. We have also advanced in the Surgitrainer project, a training simulator for minimally invasive surgery and a new specific robotic trainer has been designed, built and evaluated in Hospital de Sant Pau and in the Leuven premises of our partner, as part of the European Society for Gynaecological Endoscopy. We are now in process of creating a company. The aim is to progressively advance in new robot surgical techniques that assist surgeons from the training phase to their assistance in clinical interventions.
IBEC group leader Alicia Casals received a 2015 fem.talent Award at the fem.talent Fòrum in Barcelona on Friday. Alicia won the prize for “Career trajectory”, recognising such milestones as the creation in 2011 of IBEC/UPC spin-off Rob Surgical Systems. Other award categories were “Emerging Talent”, “Innovation” and “Communication”.
Today, La Vanguardia (left) and Interempresas.net report that Rob Surgical Systems, the IBEC/UPC spin-off company, has started validating its Bitrack Surgical Robot System for minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery.
On Tuesday, Robotics group leader Alícia Casals was interviewed about her field of research in the programme ‘Illa Robinson’ on the TV channel El Punt Avui.
IBEC group leaders Alícia Casals and Santiago Marco feature in a Sunday supplement about robots in La Vanguardia this week.
IBEC is mentioned in the press today in relation to the HYPER project, of which the Robotics group is a partner. The story reveals the start of some pilot tests with real spine patients at the Hospital Nacional de Parapléjicos de Toledo with the robots being developed by the project, which aims to develop new treatments in neurorehabilitation and help with patients’ mobility.
Awards will support researchers’ work on a system to aid rehabilitation in children, and improved healing in shoulder injuries
“Més de 450 nens de tot Catalunya faran recerca amb el suport d’investigadors del programa RecerCaixa”
Emili Boronat from IBEC’s Robotics group appeared on TV3’s Info K programme yesterday after taking part in the presentation of the initiative ‘Investiga amb RecerCaixa!’ at Cosmocaixa in Barcelona alongside 9 other researchers from other institutions.
A prototype developed by IBEC’s Robotics group and their collaborators was presented at the European Society for Gynaecological Endoscopy’s 22nd Annual Congress in Berlin last month.
IBEC’s Robotics group leader Alicia Casals features in an article in Regió 7 (“El diari de la Catalunya central”) and other sites about next week’s (re)Make conference on information and communication technologies.
IBEC’s Robotics group leader Alícia Casals represented Catalonia’s scientific community when she and two doctors, a psychiatrist and a biomedical researcher read out a poem at the Concert per la Llibertat at Camp Nou on 29th June.
Tuesday 2nd April’s edition of Catalan daily magazine Ara features an article about the minimally invasive robotic station for surgery, Bitrack, which is being developed by IBEC’s spin-off company, Rob Surgical Systems.
IBEC’s Robotics group leader Alícia Casals was interviewed on local radio station Radio Rubí this week. The interview formed part of the Rubí al dia programme’s celebration of International Women’s Day by featuring women with interesting jobs.
IBEC Senior Researcher Joan Aranda’s project ‘InHANDS: robòtica interactiva per a l’assistència humana en l’entorn domèstic’ has been awarded funding by the RecerCaixa programme.
Diario Vasco, the daily newspaper published from San Sebastian, featured a report and video about the HYPER project, of which IBEC’s Robotics group is a partner.
IBEC featured on 8tv’s ‘Equip de Reporters’ programme on Sunday night, which was entitled ‘Investigant la investigació’ and focussed on public and private funding for science. Joan Aranda of the Robotics group demonstrated the experimental robotic kitchen as as example of the group’s privately-supported work in developing intelligent robotic systems. Head of Corporate Projects Arantxa Sants commented on the current financial situation in relation to the research community, pointing out that private funding is always needed and welcome even in affluent times.
IBEC’s Alícia Casals is one of the famous Catalans featured in a new card game aimed at familiarising children with scientific vocabulary.
Alícia Casals’ Robotics laboratory was featured on Barcelona Televisió’s programme “Connexió” on Tuesday 10th January, where they showed some of the robotic devices that the lab is currently developing.
On 23 October, IBEC’s Robotics lab was featured in an episode of ‘Emprendedores e innovadores’ on TVE2.
Robotics group leader Alicia Casals was interviewed on the Catalunya Ràdio programme “El Café de la República”, broadcast on 3 November at 22:00.
Tonight at the Institute of Catalan Studies (IEC) in Barcelona, IBEC group leader Alicia Casals will inaugurate the beginning of their new academic year with a lecture, “Neurorobòtica, el repte de la robòtica assistencial”.
PhD student Xavier Giralt was interviewed for the ‘Gente corriente’ section on the back page of Saturday’s El Periódico.
Robotics group leader Alícia Casals appeared last week in Catalan local paper El 9 Nou, which covers the Osona/Ripollès and Vallès Oriental areas. Alícia gave a lecture about this century’s challenges in robotics at the 3rd Workshop on Mechatronics at the University of Vic on 16 February.
Alícia Casals, head of IBEC’s Robotics group and one of the researchers included in the exhibition “16 Catalan Women Scientists” (16 científiques catalanes), will take part in a round table discussion with other participants on 14 December entitled “Women, Society and Science: Breaking the glass ceiling”.
IBEC’s Robotics group leader Alícia Casals features in an online article in Science Careers magazine, the careers component of the journal Science.
The bioengineer Alícia Casals, group leader of the robotics research program at the Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia (IBEC) will be recognized for her work as a research scientist in the “16 Científiques Catalanes” exhibition being organized by the Associació Catalana de Comunicació Científica.
|HYPER Hybrid NeuroProsthetic and NeuroRobotic Devices for Functional Compensation and Rehabilitation of Motor Disorders||CONSOLIDER||Alícia Casals|
|Interacción persona robot en entornos semiestructurados bajo criterios de permitividad||I+D-Investigación fundamental no orientada||Alícia Casals|
|BITRACK: Validación clínica robot quirúrgico (2015-2018)||MINECO||Alícia Casals|
|Hystrainer: Surgical trainer for hysteroscopy surgery||
Programa Indústria del Coneixement: LLAVOR 2014
Privately funded projects
Desenvolupament d’un sistema robòtic de baix cost d’ajut a la rehabilitació de la marxa per a nens amb trastorns greus
|InHANDS Interactive robotics for Human Assistance iN Domestic Scenarios||RECERCAIXA||Joan Aranda|
|TAM – Desenvolupament d’un sistema intel·ligent de selecció i manipulació d’objectes en un entorn estèril (2014-2016)||Technologies for Advanced Manufacturing and Robotics, S.L.||Alícia Casals|
|Desenvolupar un sistema d’assistència robòtica per medicina i cirurgia fetal (2016-2019)||CELLEX||Alícia Casals|
Casals, A., Hernansanz, A., Rovira, A., Basombra, J., Comas, R., (2015). Dispositivo para simular una operación endoscópica vía orificio natural Fundació Institut de Recerca de l'Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau; Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya; Fundació Institut de Bioenginyeria de Catalunya , EP14382032.2,
Rajasekaran, Vijaykumar, Aranda, Joan, Casals, Alicia, Pons, Jose L., (2015). An adaptive control strategy for postural stability using a wearable robot Robotics and Autonomous Systems 73, 16-23 [Open Access]
Hernansanz, A., Casals, A., Amat, J., (2015). A multi-robot cooperation strategy for dexterous task oriented teleoperation Robotics and Autonomous Systems 68, 156-172
Morales, R., Badesa, F. J., Garcia-Aracil, N., Aranda, J., Casals, A., (2015). Autoadaptive neurorehabilitation robotic system assessment with a post-stroke patient Revista Iberoamericana de Automatica e Informatica Industrial 12, 1, 92-98
Alsaleh, S. M., Aviles, A. I., Sobrevilla, P., Casals, A., Hahn, J. K., (2015). Automatic and robust single-camera specular highlight removal in cardiac images Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (EMBC) IEEE , 675-678
Rajasekaran, V., Aranda, J., Casals, A., (2015). Compliant gait assistance triggered by user intention Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (EMBC) IEEE , 3885-3888
Aviles, A. I., Alsaleh, S. M., Sobrevilla, P., Casals, A., (2015). Force-feedback sensory substitution using supervised recurrent learning for robotic-assisted surgery Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (EMBC) IEEE , 1-4
Urra, O., Casals, A., Jané, R., (2015). The impact of visual feedback on the motor control of the upper-limb Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (EMBC) IEEE , 3945-3948
Mur, O., Frigola, M., Casals, A., (2015). Modelling daily actions through hand-based spatio-temporal features ICAR 2015 IEEE , 478-483
Aviles, A. I., Alsaleh, S., Sobrevilla, P., Casals, A., (2015). Sensorless force estimation using a neuro-vision-based approach for robotic-assisted surgery NER 2015 IEEE , 86-89
Rokbani, Nizar, Casals, Alicia, Alimi, AdelM, (2015). IK-FA, a New Heuristic Inverse Kinematics Solver Using Firefly Algorithm Springer International Publishing 575, 369-395
Vinagre, M., Aranda, J., Casals, A., Aranda, J., Casals, A., (2015). A new relational geometric feature for human action recognition Springer 325, 263-278
Rajasekaran, V., Aranda, J., Casals, A., (2015). User intention driven adaptive gait assistance using a wearable exoskeleton Springer International 418, 289-301
Aviles, A. I., Sobrevilla, P., Casals, A., (2014). An approach for physiological motion compensation in robotic-assisted cardiac surgery Experimental & Clinical Cardiology 20, 11, 6713-6724 [Open Access]
Rajasekaran, Vijaykumar, Aranda, Joan, Casals, Alicia, (2014). Recovering planned trajectories in robotic rehabilitation therapies under the effect of disturbances International Journal of System Dynamics Applications 3, 2, 34-49
Badesa, F. J., Morales, R., Garcia-Aracil, N., Sabater, J. M., Casals, A., Zollo, L., (2014). Auto-adaptive robot-aided therapy using machine learning techniques Computer Methods and Programs in Biomedicine 116, 2, 123-130
Vaca, R., Aranda, J., (2014). Approximating coupler curves using strip trees Advanced Numerical Methods II CIMNE , 1-2
Berges, E., Casals, A., (2014). Identification of non-technical roadblocks in cognitive robotic surgery From Exo-Skeletons to Surgical Robots The Royal Geographical Society and Imperial College London , 3-4
Aviles, A. I., Sobrevilla, P., Casals, A., (2014). In search of robustness and efficiency via l1− and l2− regularized optimization for physiological motion compensation International Journal of Medical, Health, Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Engineering World Academy of Science, Engineering and Technology (WASET) 8, 501-506
Aviles, A. I., Marban, A., Sobrevilla, P., Fernandez, J., Casals, A., (2014). A recurrent neural network approach for 3D vision-based force estimation IPTA 2014 IEEE , 1-6
Urra, O., Casals, A., Jané, R., (2014). Study of synergy patterns during the execution of stroke rehabilitation exercises CASEIB Proceedings Sociedad Española de Ingeniería Biomédica , 1-4
Urra, O., Casals, A., Jané, R., (2014). Synergy analysis as a tool to design and assess an effective stroke rehabilitation Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (EMBC) IEEE , 3550-3553
Vaca, R., Aranda, J., (2014). Triangular-fan-based algorithm for computing the closure conditions of planar linkages Advanced Numerical Methods IV CIMNE , 1-2
Aviles, A. I., Sobrevilla, P., Casals, A., (2014). Unconstrained ℓ1 — regularized minimization with interpolated transformations for heart motion compensation Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (EMBC) IEEE , 5109-5112
Campos, Jordi, Laporte, Enric, Gili, Gabriel, Peñas, Carlos, Casals, Alicia, Amat, Josep, (2014). Characterization of anastomosis techniques for robot assisted surgery IFMBE Proceedings Springer International Publishing 41, 109-112
Berges, E., Casals, A., (2014). Considering civil liability as a safety criteria for cognitive surgical robots IFMBE Proceedings Springer International Publishing 41, 113-116
Urra, O., Casals, A., Jané, R., (2014). Evaluating spatial characteristics of upper-limb movements from EMG signals IFMBE Proceedings Springer International Publishing 41, 1795-1798
Rajasekaran, V., Aranda, J., Casals, A., (2014). Handling disturbances on planned trajectories in robotic rehabilitation therapies IFMBE Proceedings Springer International Publishing 41, 85-88
Marbán, Arturo, Casals, Alicia, Fernández, Josep, Amat, Josep, (2014). Haptic feedback in surgical robotics: Still a challenge Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing Springer International Publishing 252, 245-253
Vinagre, M., Aranda, J., Casals, A., (2014). An interactive robotic system for human assistance in domestic environments Springer International Publishing 8548, 152-155
Aviles, A. I., Casals, A., (2014). Interpolation based deformation model for minimally invasive beating heart surgery IFMBE Proceedings Springer International Publishing 41, 372-375
Aviles, AngelicaI, Casals, Alicia, (2014). On genetic algorithms optimization for heart motion compensation Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing Springer International Publishing 252, 237-244
Casals, Alicia, Fedele, Pasquale, Marek, Tadeusz, Molfino, Rezia, Muscolo, GiovanniGerardo, Recchiuto, CarmineTommaso, (2014). A robotic suit controlled by the human brain for people suffering from quadriplegia Lecture Notes in Computer Science Springer Berlin Heidelberg , 294-295
Casals, A., Amat, J., (2013). Exploring improvements on the complexity-performance ratio and usability of surgical robots Evaluating effectiveness and acceptance of robots in surgery: user centered design and economic factors Robotic SurgePedia BETA! , 1-6
Vinagre, M., Aranda, J., Casals, A., (2013). Human motion recognition from 3D pose information: Trisarea: A New Pose-based Feature Proceedings of ICINCO 2013 SCITEPRESS Digital Library 2, 74-82
Casals, A., (2013). Adaptive control in neurorehabilitation Springer Berlin Heidelberg 1, 123-127
Giralt, Xavier, Amigo, Luis, Casals, Alicia, Amat, Josep, (2013). Robotic platform to evaluate the assistance and assessment on the rehabilitation loop Springer Berlin Heidelberg 1, 1031-1035
Hernansanz, A., Zerbato, D., Gasperotti, L., Scandola, M., Casals, A., Fiorini, P., (2012). Assessment of virtual fixtures for the development of basic skills in robotic surgery International Journal of Computer Assisted Radiology and Surgery Springer 7 (Supplement 1) - Surgical Modelling, Simulation and Education, S186-S188
Antelis, J.M., Montesano, L., Giralt, X., Casals, A., Minguez, J., (2012). Detection of movements with attention or distraction to the motor task during robot-assisted passive movements of the upper limb Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (EMBC) IEEE , 6410-6413
Muñoz, L. M., Casals, A., (2012). Dynamic scaling interface for assisted teleoperation IEEE , 4288-4293
Amigo, L. E., Fernandez, Q., Giralt, X., Casals, A., Amat, J., (2012). Study of patient-orthosis interaction forces in rehabilitation therapies IEEE Conference Publications IEEE , 1098-1103
Hernansanz, A., Amat, J., Casals, A., (2012). Virtual Robot: A new teleoperation paradigm for minimally invasive robotic surgery IEEE Conference Publications IEEE , 749-754
Muñoz, L. M., Ponsa, P., Casals, A., (2012). Design and development of a guideline for ergonomic haptic interaction Springer 99, 15-29
Abolmaesumi, Purang, Joskowicz, Leo, Navab, Nassir, Jannin, Pierre, Hernansanz, Albert, Zerbato, Davide, Gasperotti, Lorenza, Scandola, Michele, Fiorini, Paolo, Casals, Alicia, (2012). Improving the development of surgical skills with virtual fixtures in simulation Lecture Notes in Computer Science Springer Berlin Heidelberg 7330, 157-166
Miguel Munoz, Luis, Casals, Alicia, Frigola, Manel, Amat, Josep, (2011). Motor-model-based dynamic scaling in human-computer interfaces IEEE Transactions on Systems Man and Cybernetics Part B-Cybernetics 41, 2, 435-447
Amigo, L. E., Casals, A., Amat, J., (2011). Design of a 3-DoF joint system with dynamic servo-adaptation in orthotic applications Proceedings IEEE , 3700-3705
Vaca, R., Aranda, J., Amat, J., Casals, A., (2011). Safe human-robot co-manipulation in assisted robotic surgery International Journal of Computer Assisted Radiology and Surgery Springer 6, S281
Casals, A., (2010). Robótica en sanidad: asistencia en el quirófano y asistencia a las personas Automática e Instrumentación 418, 47-50
Frigola, M., Vinagre, M., Casals, A., Amat, J., Santana, F., Torrens, C., (2010). Robotics as a support tool for experimental optimisation of surgical strategies in orthopaedic surgery Applied Bionics and Biomechanics 7, 3, 231-239
Aranda, J., Navarro, A. A., (2010). Angular variation as a monocular cue for spatial perception Proceedings of the 2010 20th International Conference on Pattern Recognition (ICPR 2010) IEEE Computer Society , 3468-3471
Aranda, J., Vinagre, M., Marti n, E. X., Casamitjana, M., Casals, A., (2010). Friendly human-machine interaction in an adapted robotized kitchen Computers Helping People with Special Needs Springer 1, 312-319
Casals, A., (2010). Human – Robot cooperation techniques in surgery ICINCO 2010 Springer , 1-4
Casals, A., Campos, J., Giralt, X., Amat, J., (2010). Intuitive graphic interface for assisted teleoperation in surgical applications DRHE 2010 Dependable Robots in Human Environments IEEE/RAS , 1-6
Amigo, L.E., Casals, A., Amat, J., (2010). Polyarticulated architecture for the emulation of an isocentric joint in orthetic applications BioRob 2010 IEEE , 825-830
Casamitjana, M., Pérez, M. C., Aranda, J., Montseny, E., Martin, E. X., (2010). Reliable 3D reconstruction extending pixel-level certainty measures IEEE International Conference on Fuzzy IEEE , 1-7
Andonovski, B., Ponsa, P., Casals, A., (2010). Towards the development of a haptics guideline in human-robot systems 3rd International Conference on Human System Interactions (HSI) IEEE , 380-387
Munoz, L. M., Casals, A., (2009). Improving the human-robot interface through adaptive multispace transformation IEEE Transactions on Robotics 25, 5, 1208-1213
Casals, A., Frigola, M., Amat, J., (2009). Robotics, a valuable tool in surgery Revista Iberoamericana de Automatica e Informatica Industrial 6, 1, 5-19
Otero, J., Puig-Vidal, M., Frigola, M., Casals, A., (2009). Micro-to-nano optical resolution in a multirobot nanobiocharacterization station 2009 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems, IROS 2009 IEEE , 5357-5362
Hernansanz, A., Amat, J., Casals, A., (2009). Optimization criterion for safety task transfer in cooperative robotics IEEE , 254-259
Muñoz, Luis Miguel, Casals, Alícia, Amat, Josep, Puig-Vidal, Manel, Samitier, Josep, (2005). Improved AFM scanning methodology with adaptation to the target shape C3 - Proceedings - IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation ICRA 2005 IEEE , 1529-1534
- Basic electronics laboratory equipment
- A 50’ 3D monitor
- 6D magnetic positioning sensors (Polhemus)
- Ultrasound probe: B-Ultrasonic Diagnostic Equipment Model WED-2000
- 2 PC with multiprocessor architecture (Tesla C2050)
- A BCI working platform based on an Emotiv Epoc headset (EEG acquisition system)
- KUKA lightweight robot specially designed for mobility and interaction with humans and a priori unknown environments. It is equipped with a control environment developed by the team to program anatomic constraints to operate in virtual environments
- Computer controlled LED-based lighting system for the operating room
- Experimental robotized kitchen composed of a robot, several adapted cupboards, a kitchen counter and a PC for robot and environment control
- 2 robot operated 3 degrees of freedom surgical instruments
- Baxter: Robot Baxter research edition, with two sensorized arms and with integrated vision The robot operates under OROCOS and is provided with an anticollision application for a safe operation of its two arms.
- Robotic arm with a two fingers gripper, Mico research edition, from Kinova
- 3-finger adaptive robot gripper, from Robotiq
- Dr. Ramon Rovira
Hospital de Sant Pau
- Dr. Enric Laporte and Gabriel Gili
Corporació Sanitària Parc Taulí, Sabadell, Spain
- Dr. Oriol Puig
Hospital de la Vall d’Hebrón, Barcelona, Spain
- Dr. Carlos Torrens
Hospital del Mar, Barcelona, Spain
- Dr. Javier Magriñá
Mayo Clinic, Scottsdale, Arizona, USA
- Dr. Rudi Campo
President of ESGE, European Society for Gynaecological Endoscopy
- Prof Paolo Fiorini
Università degli Studi di Verona, Italy
- Prof Nicolás García
Universidad Miguel Hermandez
- Research Prof. José L. Pons
Bioengineering group, CSIC
- Prof. Joerg Raczkowsky
Karlsruher Institut fuer Technologie