Postdoctoral Research Associate
Florence Leong is a Postdoctoral Research Associate, working on the RoboPatient Project. Florence obtained her PhD from the University of Melbourne, Australia in 2019 and her Master of Engineering (by research) from the National University of Singapore (NUS) in 2010, both in the area of Surgical Robotics.
Florence has worked in multiple medical companies in the past years. She joined Siemens Medical Instruments, Singapore in 2011 as an R&D Automation Engineer and then a Technical Project Leader. In 2019, she briefly worked in Axxin Pty Ltd, a company in Australia which produces biomedical diagnostic instrumentations, as a Systems Engineer before moving to the UK for her postdoctoral research position.
Description of Current Research
Florence’s research focus in the RoboPatient project includes modelling and analysing behaviour and perception in the interaction between tissue and touch during medical examination palpation on patients. These interaction scenarios are simulated using numerical/analytic and finite element modelling methods. The observations from the models will be used to construct a surrogate model (e.g. augmented reality) to be integrated with a robotic patient platform for medical training. This allows medical trainees to sharpen their examination skills and sensitivity for diagnosis without the need to practise on actual patients, which in turn reduces trauma and discomfort in patients.
1) PhD – Local Magnetic Actuation (LMA)-based Abdominal Surgical Robot (video).
My research focused on the development of a magnetic-based abdominal robotic surgical platform, known as the Local Magnetic Actuation (LMA) system. This surgical system comprises a set of external electromagnetic actuators to drive an internal device attached with a multiple degrees-of-freedom (DOFs) robotic surgical manipulator. The internal device is inserted completely into the abdominal cavity via a small incision on the umbilicus and held onto the abdominal wall by anchoring permanent magnets. It is embedded with permanent magnet rotors which drive a DOF on the surgical manipulator each.
The device is actuated by the magnetic fields transmitted from across the abdominal wall to perform hepatectomy (liver resection), cholecystectomy (gallbladder resection) and appendectomy (appendix resection). This strategy results in low surgical trauma on patients as only a single incision is required, at the same time provides high dexterity for surgical manipulation.
My studies involved modelling the magnetic interaction between magnetic fields generated by magnetic sources within the robotic workshop, as well as the disturbance caused by the dynamics of the abdominal wall during the transmission of magnetic signals for actuation. This information is used to design an Internal Model Principle controller for disturbance (i.e. magnetic interference) rejection onto operating rotors for accurate surgical manipulation.
2) Master of Engineering (by research) – An integrated radio-frequency ablation and resection device
My M.Eng studies involve the development of a liver resection device which was integrated with radio-frequency ablation and resection for hepatectomy (removal of liver tissue). The main aim is to coagulate the parts of liver tissue to be resected prior to the actual cutting due to the vascular nature of the liver organ. This procedure reduces the risk of blood loss, hence morbidity rate during hepatectomy.
The device performed automated cutting after sufficient coagulation onto the liver tissue is achieved. I modelled the interaction between the scalpel blade and coagulated liver tissue to obtain optimal parameter for the design of a force controller for effective and safe resection.
- Medical / Surgical Robotics
- Soft Robotics
- Human-robot Interaction
- Virtual Soft Tissue Modelling
- Applied Control
- Thilina Dulantha Lalitharatne, Yongxuan Tan, Florence Leong, Liang He, Nejra Van Zalk, Simon de Lusignan, Fumiya Iida, and Thrishantha Nanayakkara. Facial Expression Rendering in Medical Training Simulators: Current Status and Future Directions. IEEE Access DOI: 10.1109/ACCESS.2020.3041173
- Thilina Dulantha Lalitharatne, Yongxuan Tan, Liang He, Florence Leong, Nejra Van Zalk, Simon de Lusignan, Fumiya Iida, and Thrishantha Nanayakkara. MorphFace: A Hybrid Morphable Face for a Robopatient. IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters (RAL), 2021
- F. Leong, A. Mohammadi, Y. Tan, D. Thiruchelvam, C. Y. Lai, P. Valdastri, and D. Oetomo, Disturbance Rejection in Multi-DOF Local Magnetic Actuation for the Robotic Abdominal Surgery, IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters (RA-L), vol. 3, no. 3, pp. 1568–1575, 2018. Presented in IEEE ICRA2018 (spotlight video)
- A. Mohammadi, D. Somsonas, F. Leong, Y. Tan, D. Thiruchelvam, P. Valdastri, and D. Oetomo, Modeling and Control of Local Electromagnetic Actuation for Robotic-Assisted Surgical Devices, IEEE Transactions on Mechatronics (TMECH), vol. 22, no. 6, pp. 2449–2460, 2017.
- F. Leong, N. Garbin, C. DiNatali, A. Mohammadi, D. Thiruchelvam, D. Oetomo, and P. Valdastri. Magnetic Surgical Instruments for Robotic Abdominal Surgery. IEEE Reviews in Biomedical Engineering (RBME), vol. 9, pp. 66–78, 2016.
- F. Leong, W. H. Huang, and C. K. Chui, Modelling and Analysis of Coagulated Liver Tissue and its Interaction with a Scalpel Blade, Medical & Biology Engineering & Computing (MBEC), 51(6):687–695, 2013.
- F. Leong, C. Y. Lai, S. F. Khosroshahi, L. He, S. de Lusignan, T. Nanayakkara, M. Ghajari, Development of a Real Time Augmented Reality RoboPatient Platform with Haptic Feedback using a 3D Surrogate Model, Congress of International Society of Biomechanics (ISB 2021).
- Liang He, Florence Leong, Thilina Dulantha Lalitharatne, Simon de Lusignan, and Thrishantha Nanayakkara. A Haptic Mouse Design with Stiffening Muscle Layer for Simulating Guarding in Abdominal Palpation Training. IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA) 2021.
- F. Leong, A. Mohammadi, Y. Tan, D. Thiruchelvam, P. Valdastri, and D. Oetomo. Magnetic Interactions of Neighbouring Stator Sets in Multi DOF Local Electromagnetic Actuation for Robotic Abdominal Surgery. In Procs. IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robotics and Systems (IROS), pp. 5723–5729, 2017.
- F. Leong, A. Mohammadi, Y. Tan, D. Thiruchelvam, C. Y. Lai, P. Valdastri, and D. Oetomo, Robustness Evaluation of Internal Model Principle-based Controller in a Magnetically Actuated Surgical System (Best Presentation Award), in Procs. Australia New Zealand Control Conference (ANZCC), 2018.
- F. Leong, A. Mohammadi, Y. Tan, P. Valdastri and D. Oetomo. Experimentally Validated Modelling of Electromechanical Dynamics on Local Magnetic Actuation System for Abdominal Surgery, In Procs. Australasian Conference of Robotics and Automation (ACRA), 206-214, 2016.
- G. Hang, M. Bain, J. Y. Chang, S. Fang, F. Leong, A. Mohammadi, P. Valdastri, and D. Oetomo. Local Magnetic Actuation Based Laparoscopic Camera for Minimally Invasive Surgery, Australasian Conference on Robotics and Automation (ACRA), 186-191, 2015.
- F. Leong, C. K. Chui, S. Chang, I. Sakuma, and A. N. Poo, Modeling and Simulation of Tissue/Device Interaction using Standard Viscoelastic Model, In Procs IEEE International Conference on Systems, Man and Cybernetics (SMC), 3542-3547, 2008.
- F. Leong, L. Yang, C. K. Chui, S. Chang, I. Sakuma, and A. N. Poo, A Precise Robotic Ablation and Division Mechanism for Liver Resection, in Procs. International Workshop on Medical Imaging and Augmented Reality (MIAR), 2008.
- F. Leong, J. Djuanda, P. Breven, ZMP Analysis on a 7-Link Bipedal Robot, in Procs. IEEE International Conference on Mechatronics Technology (ICMT), 2005.
- F. Leong, C. Y. Lai, S. F. Khosroshahi, L. He, S. de Lusignan, T. Nanayakkara, M. Ghajari, Development of a Real Time Augmented Reality RoboPatient Platform with Haptic Feedback using a 3D Surrogate Model, Hamlyn Symposium on Medical Robotics 2021. (Best Poster Award) [Poster] [Video Presentation]
- F. Leong, A. Mohammadi, V. Rajagopal, Y. Tan, D. Thiruchelvam, P. Valdastri, and D. Oetomo, Dynamics of Insufflated Abdominal Wall Tissue for Magnetically Anchored Surgical Instruments. arXiv preprint arXiv:1806.09067, 2018.