Development and comparison of foot interfaces for controlling a robotic arm in surgery

Elahe Abdi, Mohamed Bouri, Etienne Burdet, Hannes Bleuler

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference PaperOther

5 Citations (Scopus)


Currently available foot interfaces to command an external assistive robotic arm for laparoscopic surgery typically consist of a couple of push buttons placed on a planar platform. In this paper, we develop and compare two foot interfaces implementing isotonic vs. elastic isometric control strategies. A four DOF robotic arm is used as the slave robot to evaluate both interfaces and their corresponding control strategies. This robot is controlled by foot's translation/rotation in the isotonic interface and by force/torque in the elastic isometric interface. The isotonic interface is used for position control, and the isometric interface for rate control. An experimental study mimicking a laparoscopic surgery task was conducted to compare the performance with these two systems, in which the slave robot is used as an endoscope holder controlled by the foot in the specific interface. The subjects strongly preferred using the elastic isometric interface, which they found more intuitive and less tiring. The low physical burden of this interface allows the users to concentrate on the main task of manipulation. Also, they preferred the rate control as it provides them with a more accurate control on the slave robot.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2018 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Biomimetics, ROBIO 2018
PublisherIEEE, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
Number of pages7
ISBN (Electronic)9781728103761
Publication statusPublished - 11 Mar 2019
EventIEEE International Conference on Robotics and Biomimetics 2018 - Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Duration: 12 Dec 201815 Dec 2018 (Proceedings)

Publication series

Name2018 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Biomimetics, ROBIO 2018


ConferenceIEEE International Conference on Robotics and Biomimetics 2018
Abbreviated titleROBIO 2018
CityKuala Lumpur
Internet address


  • Control strategy
  • elastic isometric foot interface
  • endoscope positioner
  • human-machine interaction
  • isotonic foot interface
  • robotic assistant
  • surgical robotics

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