Before robotic surgery, surgeons were limited by their manual laparoscopic tools which delayed patient recovery time. Multi armed robotic surgery made dramatic improvements but had fundamental challenges such as limited clinical applications, reduced operational efficiency, and poor ergonomics for surgeons. Our design efforts were focused on a system that addressed these issues via a single incision and provided a superior user experience for all user groups.
Ideation on this project included theoretical and practical mechanics, user-oriented visual form language and color psychology, ergonomics, material use, labeling, and workflow establishment for clinical technicians, support staff, and surgeons.
One of the major challenges in developing this equipment, and any within the operatory theater, is establishing and maintaining a sterile field. This protective line from “breast to belt” requires that anything within the range be draped with a sterile barrier, in this case, a polymer sheet material formed to still allow mechanical throughput for laparoscopic control and imaging access.
Our team worked diligently to ideate and test ways to achieve the required mechanical and optical access that the control unit of the system needed without violating this sterile barrier.
The ultimate design included clearly labeled sterile pockets within the drape itself to orient the installer in placement order on an otherwise transparent and visually confusing folded drape.
A highly detailed surface model was then created of the patient cart and surgeon console to verify mechanical fitment, range of motion and clearance requirements, potential pinch point mitigation, posturing for transport and deployment of the system, styling and brand application, and general form language.
Our team fabricated early 1:1 scale models to study overall visual presence, range of motion, mobility and stability, and deployment procedures. These types of studies proved invaluable to the eventual design of both the patient cart and workstation.
Our UI/UX team along with our Graphic Designers also tackled the creation of on-screen displays and user input modes for the surgeon console and laparoscopic unit. This included developing and refining a complete user workflow diagram, UI wireframes, and functional interface prototypes for use in formative and summative user studies.
These concepts informed a fully functional walkthrough UI for demonstration to surgeons and other stakeholders on the physical prototype units.