Finally, A Practical Use For The Leap

Robots used in laparoscopic surgery are fairly commonplace, but controlling them is far from simple. The usual setup is something akin to a Waldo-style manipulator, allowing a surgeon to cut, cauterise, and stitch from across a room. There is another way to go about this thanks to some new hardware, as [Sriranjan] shows us with his Leap-controlled surgery bot.

[Sriranjan] isn’t using a real laparoscopic surgery robot for his experiments. Instead, he’s using the Le-Sur simulator that puts two virtual robot arms in front of a surgeon in training. Each of these robotic arms have seven degrees of freedom, and by using two Leap controllers (one each in a VM), [Sriranjan] was able to control both of them using his hands.

We’ve seen a lot of creative applications for the Leap sensor, like controlling quadcopters, controlling hexapod robots, and controlling more quadcopters, but this is the first time we’ve seen the Leap do something no other controller can – emulating the delicate touch of a surgeon’s hand


15 thoughts on “Finally, A Practical Use For The Leap

  1. Robots used in laparoscopic surgery are fairly commonplace

    If by “commonplace” you mean that there’s a single manufacturer in the whole word approved by FDA and it is just about to have that approval pulled for problems with damaging adjacent tissue – and their daVinci robot (more accurately, a remote manipulator of course, not even close to a “robot” – we are about hundred years away from an actual medical robot), then yes, they are “commonplace” at about $2M apiece :)

      1. Just kidding. Thank you for pointing that out. I read the article before coffee (no dammit, no more coffee hacks!) and almost coasted right on past the statement that you “fleshed out”. Sorry. I’m switching back to decaf and thorizine.

      2. Define…”single”


        Used to be two, then one sued another and eventually bought it. There are other machines out there (in US) but they are unique one-of-a-kind builds by universities for internal research purposes. If you were to have a cool spare $2Mil and a need for a surgical robot, and you are in US, you can only buy it from Intuitive Surgical. There may be a slight chance that by 2015 there will be another one manufacturer in US – Titan Medical, all depends on the speed of FDA approval. If we were to get very technical, there’s one other manufacturer that makes an FDA approved manipulator that is used in assisting only a very specialized surgery – knee and hip replacement – Mako Surgical. That’s about it for US.

        If you are in Europe, there seems to be more choices available to you but I would not even start to speculate on their approval status. Do you know? I’d be interested to hear it.

    1. I came here to say this. I’m not a surgeon (obviously), but I would imagine it’s like learning a new trade to perform surgery with no type of haptic feedback. I think that’s why I’ve seen surgeons manipulating multiple-degree-of-freedom devices as the controllers for surgery robots.

      Still, I’m with Brian on this. This is one of the best uses of the Leap Motion I’ve seen so far. You know that feeling you get when nearing the end of a good book and you can’t stop reading because you want to find out what happens? That’s how I feel about the Leap Motion. I know there’s a eureka use for it, but I haven’t been able to see what that is just yet.

  2. >Leap do something no other controller can – emulating the delicate touch of a surgeon’s hand

    What?! The Leap is orders of magnitude less precise than physical laparoscopic controls. There’s also zero feedback. The Leap only handles positional and attitude data, meaning he’s throwing away the majority of the fine controls mechanisms from actual controllers. A Leap controller is possibly the most ill-suited way to perform laparoscopic surgery I can imagine short of a DDR dance pad. It replicates every one of the flaws of an actual hand while giving none of the advantages of a laparoscopic system.

    >Leap do something no other controller can – emulating the delicate touch of a surgeon’s hand

    Every time I look at it I stare at it in disbelief as if a sentence that wrong can’t possibly exist.

    1. Yeah HAD writers seem to have ZERO real world experience with pretty much anything they write about that doesnt have an arduino in it.

      Hey Brian….volunteer as Sriranjan first test subject….
      how about Carpal tunnel surgery? Vasectomy?
      Im sure it will turn out great

Leave a Reply

Please be kind and respectful to help make the comments section excellent. (Comment Policy)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.