New R&D Initiative Puts Canadian Company at Forefront of Robotic Surgery



    Quanser's sophisticated haptic technology to advance 'minimally-
    invasive' surgery techniques

    TORONTO, Sept. 25 /CNW/ - Canada's Quanser Inc. announces the start of a
new research and development partnership to advance robotically-assisted
surgery. The initiative, a joint effort between Canadian Surgical Technology
and Advanced Robotics (C-STAR) and Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE),
supported by Quanser and its cutting-edge Haptic Technology, puts Canada at
the forefront of developing next-generation medical robotic technology.
    Led by CSTAR, this $750,000 research project will build upon Quanser's
work in the area of haptics and advanced robotic technology, with the ability
to add a realistic 'sense of touch' to surgical robotic tools. Ontario-based
Quanser is a leader in the emerging field of haptics and has previously
integrated its expertise and equipment into medical training simulators and
surgical robotic prototypes. Quanser's haptic technology and research tools
will provide integral components for the new project, which is aimed at
improving techniques for 'minimally-invasive surgery' (MIS).
    "We're designing robotic tools to enhance surgical capabilities, allowing
the surgeon to transcend the limitations of conventional technology and work
in a less invasive environment," says Quanser CEO Paul Gilbert. "As we
continue to make advancements, we will see a widening in the range of surgical
procedures for which robotically-assisted surgery is suited... from
brain-microsurgery to surgery over long distances."
    Robotically-assisted surgery allows precision robotic tools to act as a
surgeon's arms, hands and fingers with greater reach, accuracy and
effectiveness - and without the need for large incisions. The benefits are
many: less trauma, pain and blood loss; fewer complications; minimal scarring;
faster recovery times and shorter hospital stays; and less strain on
overburdened healthcare systems.
    In the past, the drawback has been that the surgeon would lose the
all-important sense of touch. Quanser's haptic technology resolves this
quandary using complex mathematical computer models to convey realistic
sensory feelings back to the surgeon. This 'sense' of touch allows the surgeon
to check for calcification, to feel the 'pop' when a needle pokes through
tissue, to feel resistance when suturing, or to feel the forces on a scalpel.
The technology also eliminates natural tremors and prevents accidental
movements from being transmitted to the robotic tools.
    Dr. Rajni Patel, Director of Engineering at C-STAR says, "The need for
medical robotic technology is growing exponentially, and haptic-enhanced
robotic surgical systems will become the staples of the hospitals and
operating rooms of the future." He adds, "The technology and ideas are right
here in Canada, through companies like Quanser, with the potential to
dramatically improve health care delivery all over the world."
    The global medical robotic market continues to expand dramatically and
Ontario Centres of Excellence, who are partnering with Quanser on a number of
projects, were quick to realize the huge potential and ready market for this
technology. Gilbert says, "Without OCE's support for this groundbreaking
research and development, we would not be able to invest the time and
resources necessary to explore these new and important applications for haptic
technology."
    The new initiative, entitled 'Haptics-Enabled Robotics-Assisted Minimally
Invasive Surgery,' is supported by more than half-a-million dollars in
up-front cash investment, including $247,000 in funding from OCE. Quanser's
investment in this project is valued at $300,000, which includes a financial
contribution of almost $70,000 and engineering services and technical support
worth approximately $230,000. Additional funding for this project was provided
by Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council Canada (NSERC).
    This initiative is a compelling example of Canadian ingenuity leading the
charge to revolutionize in-demand technology. With the support of funding
programs such as OCE, innovative companies like Quanser can take advanced
concepts from design to manufacturing, thus positioning Canadian technology to
meet growing worldwide demand.

    About Quanser

    Founded in 1990, Quanser is a world leader in the innovation and
development of advanced control systems for industry, education and research.
Quanser provides flexible, real-time solutions for complex control problems -
from design to manufacture to OEM implementation - taking concepts, products
and research to the leading edge. Quanser's flexible state-of-the-art control
technology is currently employed worldwide in a diverse range of applications,
including aerospace, robotics, medical assistive devices and the emerging
field of haptics.

    About Canadian Surgical Technologies & Advanced Robotics (C-STAR)

    CSTAR (Canadian Surgical Technologies & Advanced Robotics) is Canada's
national centre for developing and testing the next generation of minimally
invasive surgical and interventional technologies and techniques, including
robotics. CSTAR trains the surgeons of the future and shares expertise around
the world. Building on world and national firsts pioneered by surgeons in
London, CSTAR was launched in December 2001. CSTAR is a collaborative research
program of London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC), Lawson Health Research
Institute (Lawson), The University of Western Ontario (Western) and St.
Joseph's Health Care, London (St. Joseph's).

    About Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) Inc.

    The Ontario Centres of Excellence is the pre-eminent
research-to-commercialization vehicle in Ontario. Ontario Centres of
Excellence (OCE) Inc. drives the commercialization of cutting-edge research
across key market sectors to build the economy of tomorrow and secure
Ontario's global competitiveness. In doing this, OCE also fosters the training
and development of the next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs, and is
a key partner with Ontario's industry, universities, colleges, research
hospitals, investors and governments. Celebrating 20 years of innovation in
2007, OCE's five Centres work in communications and information technology,
earth and environmental technologies, energy, materials and manufacturing, and
photonics.

    /NOTE TO PHOTO EDITORS: A photo accompanying this release is available on
    the CNW Photo Network and archived at http://photos.newswire.ca.
    Additional archived images are also available on the CNW Photo Archive
    website at http://photos.newswire.ca. Images are free to accredited
    members of the media/




For further information:

For further information: visit Quanser's new web site at www.quanser.com
or contact: Sherry Lawlor, LexPR Canada, (416) 542-9140 x3366, Cell: (416)
574-0405, slawlor@lexpr.com

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