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HealthTechnology & Science

Micro-robotics for eye surgery


Micro-robotics for eye surgery at the Royal Society's Summer Science Exhibition 2023

This project aims to showcase how we can improve surgical performance by developing smart robotic instrumentation. Our research will be exhibited at the The Royal Society’s Summer Science Exhibition between 4 and 9 July.

The exhibition, Super-human capabilities in tiny spaces: micro-surgical robotics for eye surgery’ will create a rich immersive experience by replicating an operating theatre with surgical props.

"We are very proud to be a part of the Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition. This is a truly premier event, with bespoke activities created specifically for all ages of the attendees. We will be presenting our research on micro-robotics for eye surgery, engaging with our audiences through virtual reality interfaces, hands on activities, and by bringing our robotic equipment to create the operating room of the future right on the spot."

Christos Bergeles, Reader, Department of Surgical & Interventional Engineering  


As the robotic micro-surgeons need to operate within the confined space of the eye, one needs to think beyond conventional articulated robots that require large transmission systems and bulky interfaces. In such spaces, continuum robots offer the best compromise between size and dexterity.

Continuum robots move like an elephant’s trunk, can flex and alter their shape to avoid critical anatomical regions, and can control the position and orientation of their tip to mimic the dexterity of the human hand.

Video: Tiny Robots

Video: Robots & Tissue


Our research aims to improve surgical practice by developing robots that allow surgeons to operate under the most challenging of scenarios. Our robots provide them with increased dexterity, better visualisation, superhuman sensing capabilities and enable them to carry out challenging and even impossible interventions in the most delicate parts of the body.

Specifically, we are developing micro-surgical robotic systems that operate within the human retina. We are working together with stem cell biologists and clinicians to develop robots that can deliver regenerative therapies to restore sight in diseases of aging population, such as Age-Related Macular Degeneration.

Our micro-surgical robots offer opportunities way beyond conventional surgery. The developed systems will improve practice and patient outcomes, support the vision of sight restoration, and present evidence for the role of new smart instrumentation technologies in the operating room.