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Peri-Ocularly Navigated Exteroceptive Snake Robot for Novel Retinal Interventions

Total Cost €


EC-Contrib. €






 PIONEER project word cloud

Explore the words cloud of the PIONEER project. It provides you a very rough idea of what is the project "PIONEER" about.

exterior    alternative    stem    disruptive    scientifically    probes    guidance    follow    detection    planning    insertion    inducing    risk    safe    tactile    lack    minimising    sight    pioneer    exteroceptive    muscles    vessel    risky    robotics    damage    trodden    manipulation    force    flexibility    revolutionizing    line    calls    leave    lens    scleral    demanded    optimal    mounted    dimensions    posterior    nerve    enabler    tear    adaptive    incision    sheet    reduce    technically    bandwidth    sensors    sleeve    protocol    robots    assistance    tomography    innovates    vessels    virtual    interfacing    cell    clinically    conforming    micro    drug    rd    orbital    retinal    coupled    nor    futuristic    detachment    suprachoroidally    shape    limits    removing    tip    intact    structures    risks    compliance    impossible    fusing    dexterity    imposed    implant    tremor    paradigms    navigating    vitrectomy    robotic    robot    cataract    limited    retina    intervention    treatments    limitations    pose    perception    ocularly    benefits    protocols    peri    manipulations    coherence    human    clinical    tears    lifting    injecting    navigation    prerequisite    sensing    snake    enhanced    eye    vitreous    despite    fixtures    optical    haptic    estimation    healthy    membrane    intraocular    steering    notable    suspension    millimetre    disrupt    obviate    apart    conceivably    ocular    interventions   

Project "PIONEER" data sheet

The following table provides information about the project.


Organization address
address: STRAND
city: LONDON
postcode: WC2R 2LS

contact info
title: n.a.
name: n.a.
surname: n.a.
function: n.a.
email: n.a.
telephone: n.a.
fax: n.a.

 Coordinator Country United Kingdom [UK]
 Total cost 1˙500˙000 €
 EC max contribution 1˙500˙000 € (100%)
 Programme 1. H2020-EU.1.1. (EXCELLENT SCIENCE - European Research Council (ERC))
 Code Call ERC-2016-STG
 Funding Scheme ERC-STG
 Starting year 2017
 Duration (year-month-day) from 2017-04-01   to  2022-03-31


Take a look of project's partnership.

# participants  country  role  EC contrib. [€] 
1    KING'S COLLEGE LONDON UK (LONDON) coordinator 970˙909.00
2    UNIVERSITY COLLEGE LONDON UK (LONDON) participant 529˙090.00


 Project objective

Intraocular treatments require manipulation of structures with dimensions comparable to hand tremor. The demanded dexterity, coupled with reduced haptic and depth perception, calls for robotic assistance.

Despite notable benefits, existing robots are not clinically disruptive but follow well-trodden intervention protocols with significant limitations, e.g. lack of flexibility at the scleral incision and limited manipulation bandwidth, as to avoid scleral, lens, and retinal damage. Robotics also does not obviate the prerequisite of the risky, cataract-inducing vitrectomy, which may cause retinal detachment (RD) or sight loss.

Novel interventions like stem-cell delivery pose yet further challenges. Apart from removing healthy vitreous, they require millimetre-long retinal tears, lifting the retinal membrane, and injecting a stem-cell suspension or sheet. Current robots facilitate manipulations but conceivably neither enable alternative approaches nor reduce retinal-tear-induced risks.

PIONEER, the proposed snake robot, can disrupt clinical protocol by navigating peri-ocularly and around the orbital muscles to suprachoroidally reach the retina. Revolutionizing existing robot paradigms, PIONEER innovates both scientifically and technically.

Optimal robot compliance will ensure force-adaptive peri-ocular steering conforming to the eye’s exterior. A tactile sleeve with micro-sensors will provide exteroceptive force sensing and shape estimation. Enhanced navigation, fusing optical coherence tomography with on-line vessel detection from novel tip-mounted probes, will ensure safe guidance to avoid vessels through imposed virtual fixtures and path planning. No vitrectomy will be required and the posterior scleral incision will leave the retinal membrane intact, minimising RD risk.

PIONEER can be an enabler of emerging stem-cell interventions and futuristic procedures like drug-implant insertion and nerve interfacing, currently at human-dexterity limits or impossible.


year authors and title journal last update
List of publications.
2019 H Sadati, A Shiva, L Renson, C Rucker, K Althoefer, T Nanayakkara, C Bergeles, H Hauser, I Walker
Reduced Order vs. Discretized Lumped SystemModels with Absolute and Relative States forContinuum Manipulators
published pages: 1-10, ISSN: , DOI:
Robotics Science and Systems 2019-10-29
2019 P Wasylczyk, F Ozimek, M Tiwari, L Da Cruz, C Bergeles
Bio-compatible Piezoresistive Pressure Sensing Skin Sleeve for Millimetre-Scale Flexible Robots: Design, Manufacturing and Pitfalls
published pages: 1657-1661, ISSN: , DOI:
IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Conference 2019-10-29
2019 M Khadem, J O\'Neill, Z Mitros, L Da Cruz, C Bergeles
Autonomous Steering of Concentric Tube Robots with Enhanced Force/Velocity Manipulability
published pages: 1-7, ISSN: , DOI:
IEEE Int. Conf. Intelligent Robots and Systems 2019-10-29
2018 Zisos Mitros, Mohsen Khadem, Carlo Seneci, Sebastien Ourselin, Lyndon da Cruz, Christos Bergeles
Towards Modelling Multi-Arm Robots: Eccentric Arrangement of Concentric Tubes
published pages: 1-6, ISSN: , DOI:
IEEE RAS/EMBS Int. Conf. Biomedical Robotics and Biomechatronics 2019-07-18
2018 Mohsen Khadem, Lyndon da Cruz, Christos Bergeles
Force/Velocity Manipulability Analysis for 3D Continuum Robots
published pages: 1-7, ISSN: , DOI:
IEEE Int. Conf. Intelligent Robots and Systems 2019-07-18
2017 Christos Bergeles, Adam M. Dubis, Benjamin Davidson, Melissa Kasilian, Angelos Kalitzeos, Joseph Carroll, Alfredo Dubra, Michel Michaelides, Sebastien Ourselin
Unsupervised identification of cone photoreceptors in non-confocal adaptive optics scanning light ophthalmoscope images
published pages: 3081, ISSN: 2156-7085, DOI: 10.1364/BOE.8.003081
Biomedical Optics Express 8/6 2019-07-18
2018 P Wasylczyk, F Ozimek, M Tiwari, L da Cruz, C Bergeles
Pressure-sensitive Bio-compatible Skin Sleeve for Millimetre-Scale Flexible Instruments
published pages: 1-2, ISSN: , DOI:
Hamlyn Symposium on Medical Robotics 2019-07-18
2018 Zisos Mitros, Mohsen Khadem, Carlo Seneci, Lyndon DaCruz, Christos Bergeles
Mechanics Modelling of Eccentrically Arranged Concentric Tubes
published pages: 23-24, ISSN: , DOI:
Hamlyn Symposium on Medical Robotics 2019-07-18
2017 Sotiris Nousias, Francois Chadebecq, Jonas Pichat, Pearse Keane, Sebastien Ourselin, Christos Bergeles
Corner-Based Geometric Calibration of Multi-Focus Plenoptic Cameras
published pages: 957-965, ISSN: , DOI:
Int. Conf. Computer Vision 2019-07-18
2018 Benjamin Davidson, Angelos Kalitzeos, Joseph Carroll, Alfredo Dubra, Sebastien Ourselin, Michel Michaelides, Christos Bergeles
Automatic Cone Photoreceptor Localisation in Healthy and Stargardt Afflicted Retinas Using Deep Learning
published pages: , ISSN: 2045-2322, DOI:
Scientific Reports 1/8 2019-07-18

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