Gestonurse: A robotic surgical nurse for handling surgical instruments in the operating room

Mithun Jacob, Yu Ting Li, George Akingba, Juan P. Wachs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Scopus citations


While surgeon-scrub nurse collaboration provides a fast, straightforward and inexpensive method of delivering surgical instruments to the surgeon, it often results in "mistakes" (e. g. missing information, ambiguity of instructions and delays). It has been shown that these errors can have a negative impact on the outcome of the surgery. These errors could potentially be reduced or eliminated by introducing robotics into the operating room. Gesture control is a natural and fundamentally sound alternative that allows interaction without disturbing the normal flow of surgery. This paper describes the development of a robotic scrub nurse Gestonurse to support surgeons by passing surgical instruments during surgery as required. The robot responds to recognized hand signals detected through sophisticated computer vision and pattern recognition techniques. Experimental results show that 95% of the gestures were recognized correctly. The gesture recognition algorithm presented is robust to changes in scale and rotation of the hand gestures. The system was compared to human task performance and was found to be only 0.83 s slower on average.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)53-63
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Robotic Surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2012


  • Gesture recognition
  • Human robot interfaces
  • Surgical robot

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Health Informatics

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