What is navigation and localization in a surgical robot? What’s the difference?


In recent years, surgical robotics has been widely used, and robot-assisted surgery has become increasingly popular worldwide.

Utilizing advanced robotics technology with high-precision image navigation and localization technology, surgical robots are able to achieve precise surgical operations and efficient therapeutic effects. Among them, localization and navigation technology is a core component in robot-assisted surgery and a key factor affecting the quality and effect of surgery.

Navigation of surgical robots:

Navigation is an important part of surgical route planning and surgical path guidance in robot-assisted surgery. Through reasonable navigation planning, it can reduce the surgical time, minimize the surgical risk and improve the surgical efficiency. The navigation technology widely used in robot-assisted surgery has the following two main aspects:

  1. Reverse planning navigation technology

Reverse planning navigation technology is a technology that plans the surgical path in reverse based on the real data obtained during the surgical process. This technology is able to utilize the actual working space of surgical instruments and the patient’s CT, MRI and other image data to reverse plan the best surgical path through calculation and analysis, providing precise navigation guidance for the surgical process.

  1. Virtual Reality Navigation Technology

Virtual reality navigation technology refers to a navigation technology that utilizes computer image processing technology to transform the real data of the surgical process, into a virtual reality scene. This technology can simulate the surgical scene, surgical operation process, surgical instrument movement trajectory, etc., to provide real-time visual navigation guidance for the doctor, and assist in the surgical process to carry out complex surgical operations.

Localization of the surgical robot:

Positioning technology is a necessary part of robot-assisted surgery for surgical site calibration and cutting positioning. Through accurate surgical site calibration, the robot arm can autonomously locate and detect the patient’s internal lesions, thus realizing more accurate surgical operations. At present, the widely used localization technologies in robot-assisted surgery mainly include the following aspects:

  1. Three-dimensional reconstruction technology

Three-dimensional reconstruction technology is a technology that utilizes medical imaging technology and computer image processing technology to reconstruct a three-dimensional model of the patient’s internal body to guide surgical operations. This technology is able to simulate the internal anatomical structure of the patient based on the patient’s CT, MRI, PET and other image data, providing precise navigation and positioning information for surgery.

Regarding the alignment method of 3D reconstruction, the traditional scale alignment is based on image recognition, which is greatly affected by image quality. Therefore, in its self-developed PL300B spine navigation and positioning system, domestic manufacturer PUAI Medical innovatively adopts the method of adaptive alignment, which is based on trajectory recognition, is not affected by image quality, has high alignment accuracy, and is easy to operate without replacing the end of the tool in the process.

Adaptive Trajectory Alignment
  1. Magnetic induction positioning technology

Magnetic induction positioning technology is a technology that relies on the principle of magnetic field induction for positioning. This technology utilizes the magnetic field changes around the operated object to determine the position and attitude of the operated object, which has the advantages of high positioning accuracy, no incision required in the positioning process, and no radiation.

  1. Optical Positioning Technology

Optical positioning technology is a surgical positioning technology based on camera and computer vision technology. This technology is capable of real-time spatial localization of surgical instruments during the surgical process by using markers such as LED lights and reflective spheres inside the patient, and by means of precise object recognition and tracking algorithms.


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