Team at ICRA

Our team members have been actively participating in the ICRA conference at various angles including chairing sessions, volunteers, technical tour Demo, workshops, robotic challenge among others.


2016/2017, Semester 2  Engineering (Biomedical Engineering)

Modular Credits: 4 Class Size: 95

Learning Outcomes

The module aims to introduce students to the applications of engineering statics and dynamics to perform simple force analysis of the musculoskeletal system; give an appreciation of kinematics and kinetics of human motions; apply the fundamentals of mechanics, i.e. stress and strain in biological systems, shear force, bending moment and torsion.

At the end of this course, students should be able to:

  1. Draw free body diagrams and identify unknown reaction forces and moments
  2. Solve statically determinate problems involving rigid bodies, pin-jointed structures
  3. Understand the concepts of engineering stress, strain and materials behaviour
  4. Determine the load distributions and corresponding stresses and strains in structures under tension, shear, compression, torsion and bending
  5. Design structures to prevent failure including buckling
  6. Describe the anatomical structures of the major joints and spine of a human body and relate to body movement and functions
  7. Analyze the kinematics & kinetics of human movement
  8. Explain the time dependent behavior of human movement


PC1431 Physics IE

Teaching Modes

Module will consists of Lectures, Tutorials, Labs and Continual Assessment (CA) where:

•   CA will comprise term papers/quizzes (20%) and lab assignments (30%).
•    As such, total CA will constitute 50% of the total marks. The rest of 50% will come from the final examination.





Wk 1: 9 Jan
Wk 2: 16 Jan
Wk 3: 23 Jan
Wk 4: CNY
Wk 5: 6 Feb

Wk 1: –
Wk 2: 19 Jan
Wk 3: –
Wk 4: 2 Feb
Wk 5: 9 Feb

Wk 1: –
Wk 2: 20 Jan
Wk 3: 25 Jan
Wk 4: 1,3 Feb
Wk 5: 8,10 Feb

Prof. Lim Chwee Teck

Wk 6: 13,16 Feb

Wk 6:-

Wk 6:-

A/Prof. Toh Siew Lok

18 – 26 Feb RECESS WEEK

Wk 7: 27 Feb
Wk 8: 6 Mar

Wk 7: 2 Mar
Wk 8: 9 Mar

Wk 7:-
Wk 8:-

Wk 9: 13 Mar
wk 10: 20 Mar
Wk 11: 27 Mar
Wk 12: 3 Apr
Wk 13: 10 Apr

Wk 9: 16 Mar (Quiz)
wk 10: 23 Mar
Wk 11: 30 Mar
Wk 12: 6 Apr
Wk 13: 13 Apr

Wk 9:-15, 17 Mar
wk 10: 22,24 Mar
Wk 11: 29,31 Mar
Wk 12: 5, 7 Apr
Wk 13:-

Asst Prof. Ren Hongliang

Wk 17 Apr

Reading Week

Wk 15: 22 Apr onwards



Lab Group

Lab Time

Exp 1

Exp 2



Wed 2 – 5





Wed 2 – 5





Wed 2 – 5





Wed 2 – 5





Fri  9 – 12





Fri  9 – 12





Fri  9 – 12





Fri  9 – 12




Prof Lim C.T.

  1. Introduction to Biomechanics
  2. Statics applied to Biomechanics
    1. Characteristics of Forces; Static Equilibrium of Rigid Bodies
  3. Introduction to Mechanics of Deformable Body
    1. Concept of Stress and Strain
    2. Basic mechanical loads
    3. Behaviour of elastic and viscoelastic materials

Prof Toh S.L.

  1. Indeterminate systems (Axial & Torsion)
  2. Combined stresses
  3. Failure Theories
  4. Fatigue & Endurance

Prof Ren H.L.

  1. Biomechanical analysis of human motion
  2. Body and joint movement
  3. Kinematics – Linear and Angular
  4. Kinetic – Linear and Angular
  5. Gait analysis
  6. Inverse dynamics and link-segment modelling
EG1109/EG1109M Statics and Mechanics of Materials

Workload Components : A-B-C-D-E
A: no. of lecture hours per week
B: no. of tutorial hours per week
C: no. of lab hours per week
D: no. of hours for projects, assignments, fieldwork etc per week
E: no. of hours for preparatory work by a student per week

Force/Torque Sensor for Tele-operated Catheterization Procedures


A tele-operated robotic catheterization system can significantly alleviate the surgeons from radiation exposure and fatigue resulted from long standing time with protective suits. Proximal force/torque signals imply the critical information about the contact forces between the catheter and its surrounding structures. This paper presents a compact, cost-effective force and torque sensing device suitable for catheterization procedures to measure the proximal force/torque signals of the input catheter. The device consists of a rotatable and linear retractable mechanism, a laser mouse sensor, and a coil spring. As the stretched, compressed, and twisted values vary due to the sliding joint, the force and torque signals can be computed based on the Hooke’s law. The proposed sensing device has many advantages such as cost-effective, easily miniaturized and customized, and can be extended to the MRI compatible sensors. The experimental results with step response and time-varying loads by comparing to an ATI Nano17 force/torque sensor show that the Root Mean Squared Error (RMSE) for force and torque measurement are 0.042 N and 0.228 mNm respectively.

Video PPT demo


J. Guo; M. Li; P. Ho & H. Ren Design and Performance Evaluation of a Force/Torque Sensor for Tele-operated Catheterization Procedures IEEE Sensors Journal, 2016, PP, 1-8

Surgical Manipulator based on Parallel Mechanism


We presents a 5-DOF manipulator which consists of three parts, 1-DOF translational joint, a bendable skeleton (2-DOF for Omni-directional bending motion), and a rotatable forceps gripper (1-DOF for rotation, 1-DOF for opening/closing). The bendable segment in the manipulator achieves two orthogonal bending DOFs by pulling or pushing three parallel universal-joint-based shaft chains. Forward and inverse kinematics of the bendable skeleton is analyzed. The workspace calculation illustrates that the structure of the three parallel shaft chains can reach a bending angle of 90 degree in arbitrarily direction. The reachability of the manipulator is simulated in Adams. According to the surgical requirements, the manipulator is actuated to draw circle during the tests while the end effector is kept bending at 60 degree. The results show that the end effector can precisely track the planning trajectory (precision within 1 mm).

Video demo


Q. Liu; J. CHEN; S. Shen; B. Zhang; M. G. Fujie; C. M. Lim & H. REN Design, Kinematics, Simulation of Omni-directional Bending Reachability for a Parallel Structure Forceps Manipulator BioRob2016, 6th IEEE RAS/EMBS International Conference on Biomedical Robotics and Biomechatronics, June 26-29, 2016, Singapore, 201

Towards hybrid control of a flexible curvilinear surgical robot with visual/haptic guidance


Comprised of multiple telescoptic precurved tubesthat can independently rotate and translate, concentric tuberobots (CTRs) are favorable in minimally invasive surgeriesthanks to their small size and considerable dexterity along withcurvilinear accessibility. However, there is a lack of investigationon improvement of the surgeons’ perception which in turn canbe used to guide the telemanipulation. In this work, we proposedan eye-in-hand configuration for the concentric tube robot byadding an endoscope to the tip of the inner tube, which providesdirect and intuitive visual sensing ability for the operator. Basedon this visual feedback, we further developed two frameworksfor the hybrid control of CTR, namely Teleoperation BeforeVisual Servoing (TBVS) and Teleoperation During Visual Ser-voing (TDVS). The structures of these two frameworks wereelaborated with key algorithms derived. The effectiveness ofthe proposed methods were demonstrated through a series ofexperiments both in free space and in a confined environment(inside a skull model). The results manifested that the visualguidance had the potential of assisting the operator to controlthe CTR more efficiently.

More information

Full-text and more information

Data-driven Learning Intelligent Control for Flexible Surgical Manipulators


Automate Surgical Tasks for A Flexible Serpentine Manipulator via Learning Actuation Space Trajectory from Demonstration

Background: Accurate motion control of flexible surgical manipulators is crucial in tissue manipulation tasks. Tendon-driven serpentine manipulator (TSM) is one of the most widely adopted flexible mechanisms in MIS for its enhanced maneuverability in torturous environment. TSM, however, exhibits high nonlinearities and conventional analytical kinematics model is insufficient to achieve high accuracy.
Methods: To account for the system nonlinearities, we applied data driven approach to encode the system inverse kinematics. Three regression methods: Extreme Learning Machine (ELM), Gaussian Mixture Regression (GMR) and K-Nearest Neighbors Regression (KNNR) were implemented to learn a nonlinear mapping from the robot 3D position state to the control inputs.
Results: The performance of the three algorithms were evaluated both in simulation and physical trajectory tracking experiments. KNNR performs the best in the tracking experiments with the lowest RMSE of 2.1275mm.
Conclusions: The proposed inverse kinematics learning methods provide an alternative and efficient way to accurately model the challenging tendon driven flexible manipulator.
Keywords: Tendon-driven serpentine manipulator; surgical robotics; Inverse kinematics; Heuristic Methods

Demo video at:


  • W. Xu; J. Chen; H. Y. Lau & H. Ren Data-driven Methods towards Learning the Highly Nonlinear Inverse Kinematics of Tendon-driven Surgical Manipulators International Journal of Medical Robotics and Computer Assisted Surgery , 2016, 1-13
  • W. Xu; J. Chen; H. Y. Lau & H. Ren Automate Surgical Tasks for A Flexible Serpentine Manipulator via Learning Actuation Space Trajectory from Demonstration ICRA2016, IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, 2016, –



We present a novel flexible endoscope (FE) which is well suited to minimally invasive cardiac surgery (MICS). It is named the cardioscope. The cardioscope is composed of a handle, a rigid shaft, a steerable flexible section, and the imaging system. The flexible section is composed of an elastic tube, a number of spacing disks, a constraint tube, and four wires. It employs the constrained wire-driven flexible mechanism (CWFM) with a continuum backbone, which enables the control of both the angulation and the length of the flexible section. Compared to other endoscopes, e.g., rigid endoscope (RE) and fixed-length FE, the cardioscope is much more dexterous. The cardioscope can bend over 180 deg in all directions, and the bending is decoupled from the distal tip position. Ex vivo tests show that the cardioscope is well suited to MICS. It provides much wider scope of vision than REs and provides good manipulation inside confined environments. In our tests, the cardioscope successfully explored the full heart through a single hole, which shows that the design is promising. Despite being designed for MICS, the cardioscope can also be applied to other minimally invasive surgeries (MISs), such as laparoscopy, neurosurgery, transnasal surgery, and transoral surgery.

Demo video


  • Z. Li; M. Zin Oo; V. Nalam; V. Duc Thang; H. Ren; T. Kofidis & H. Yu Design of a Novel Flexible Endoscope- Cardioscope Journal of Mechanisms and Robotics, ASME, 2016, 8, 051014-051014
  • Z. Li; M. Z. Oo; V. D. Thang; V. Nalam; T. Kofidis; H. Yu & H. Ren Design of a Novel Flexible Endoscope – Cardioscope 2015 IDETC: ASME 2015 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences , 2015