A team of graduate students from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's Surgical Robotics Lab won first place in the American Society of Mechanical Engineers' 2012 Student Mechanism and Robot Design Competition, Graduate Student Robotics category, with their project, "Miniature In Vivo Surgical Robot for Single-Incision Surgery."
Mechanical and materials engineering students Jack Mondry of Orlando, Fla., Joseph Bartels of Wauneta, Thomas Frederick of Omaha, and Eric Markvicka of Ravenna presented their creation at the Chicago event in mid-August.
Their platform for R-LESS (robotic laparo endoscopic single site) surgery aims to streamline the crowded operating table while still providing the dexterity necessary to perform general surgical procedures.
"It's one of the longest running and most prestigious events in student robotics, with international participation," said Mondry, the UNL team leader.
This year's Nebraska entry was Mondry's design, nicknamed "Jackbot" in the lab's tradition of naming robot iterations after their developers.
Frederick and Markvicka collaborated on the robot's mechanical components, and Bartels focused on the controls for the device. The team worked on the robot for six months as part of their lab projects, which frequently involve collaboration and testing with the team of Dr. Dmitry Oleynikov at the University of Nebraska Medical Center.
"It's easy for people to see the immediate impact this robot could have on their lives through less- invasive surgical procedures," Mondry said. "We hope to see a commercialized version of the robot within a couple of years."