Tech Tools: Finding Purpose for Retired Robots

Winter 2017

da Vinci Research Kit

An open-source software and electronics kit created by a team of Whiting School faculty members, research engineers, and students for first-generation da Vinci surgical robots is in use at more than 25 research institutions around the world. Available on the internet via GitHub, the da Vinci Research Kit lets researchers implement novel control methods on retired clinical robot systems.

“Until now, research into more sophisticated control strategies was hampered by a lack of a robust common platform, leaving us to choose between building an expensive, one-of-a-kind system or using an overly simplistic platform that reduced research impact,” says Peter Kazanzides, the computer science research professor who led the team that developed the kit. “Now we don’t have to choose.”