GRASP on Robotics is an inaugural series of talks hosted by the GRASP Laboratory. GRASP leverages academic, research, and industry connections to deliver a set of high class tech talks with the mission of providing technical topics and meaningful discussions. 

Join the live-stream here Fridays from 10:30am -11:25am followed by a Q&A panel between our speaker, faculty, and students until 11:45am.

Spring 2024 GRASP on Robotics: Pietro Valdastri, University of Leeds, “Magnetic Surgical Robots: A “Fantastic Voyage” deep inside the human body”

This is a hybrid event with in-person attendance in Wu and Chen and virtual attendance on Zoom.


Magnetic fields offer the possibility of manipulating objects from a distance and are ideal for medical applications, as they penetrate human tissue without inflicting any harm on the patient. Magnetic fields can be harnessed to actuate surgical robots, enhancing the capabilities of surgeons in reaching deep into the human anatomy through complex winding pathways, thus providing minimally invasive access to organs that are out of reach with current technologies. In this talk, we will explore various robotic architectures based on magnetic control, specifically designed for lifesaving clinical applications. These architectures include a magnetic flexible endoscope for painless colonoscopy, soft magnetic tentacles personalized for reaching peripheral areas of the lung and navigating the pancreatic duct, and magnetic “fusilli” robots designed for collaborative bimanual tasks in a confined workspace. We will also discuss enabling technologies, intelligent control, potential levels of computer assistance, the path to first-in-human trials, and highlight the future challenges associated with this ongoing Fantastic Voyage.