Surgical robots safer

Researchers produce new algorithm to identify potential software glitches

In an effort to ensure the safety of surgical robots, researchers have developed a new algorithm to detect software glitches.

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon and Johns Hopkins universities developed an approach using the tool KeYmaeraD—which has been used to identify errors in aircraft collision-avoidance systems and to verify the design of distributed car-control systems (in “self-driving” cars)—to recognize a problem in which some surgical robots moved beyond areas designated by a surgeon, according to FierceHealthIT.

As surgeons are increasingly using robots in medical procedures, successfully identifying potential errors is critical, said Carnegie Mellon’s André Platzer.

“Because the consequences of these systems malfunctioning is so great, finding a way to prove they are free of design errors has been one of the most important and pressing challenges in computer science,” Platzer said.