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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.

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

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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