GENERAL PURPOSE DISTRIBUTED
OPERATING ROOM CONTROL SYSTEM
REFERENCE TO PARENT APPLICATION
The present application is a continuation of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/315,893, filed on Dec. 9, 2002, now U.S. Pat. No. 6,943,663 and is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety, which is a continuation of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/354,944, filed on Jul. 15, 1999, now U.S. Pat. No. 6,496,099, which is a continuationin-part application of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 08/693,352, filed on Aug. 6, 1996, now U.S. Pat. No. 6,646,541.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
1. Field of the Invention
The present invention generally relates to control systems. 20 More particularly, the present invention relates to a control system and apparatus that allows multiple surgical devices to be controlled from one or more input devices. Even more particularly, the present invention provides a run-time configurable control system allowing operating room compo- 25 nent connectivity and control.
2. Description of Related Art
Many surgical procedures are performed with multiple instruments. For example, some laproscopic procedures are performed utilizing a robotic arm system produced by 30 Computer Motion, Inc. of Goleta, Calif, to hold and move an endoscope. The surgeon may also use a laser to cut tissue, an electrocautery device to cauterize the tissue, and lights to illuminate the surgical site.
Each instrument has a unique control interface for its operation. Therefore, the surgeon must independently operate each device. For example, the surgeon must utilize a foot pedal to control the electrocautery device, a separate foot pedal to operate the robotic arm, and yet another interface to 4Q operate the laser.
Operating multiple devices may distract the surgeon, thereby reducing the efficiency of performing various procedures. Additionally, it is cumbersome utilizing various devices where each device has a separate user interface. If 45 a new device is introduced into the operating room environment, the doctor must learn how to use the new user interface. Additionally, there is currently no known run time configurable system for operating more than one specific operating room device via voice control. As such, if there are 50 two or more devices in the operating room that are voice controlled, the doctor has to remove the microphone used for one device and replace it with the microphone for the other device. Obviously, this creates many problems associated with productivity. Additionally, the necessity of actually 55 switching between many user interfaces takes a measurable amount of time and as such, extends the time that a patient is under anesthesia, which may add to the danger of a procedure.
Therefore, what is needed in the art is a general purpose 60 platform for controlling a plurality of devices such that devices can be added or subtracted from the platform depending upon the environment into which the platform, also known as a control system is introduced. The system may additionally be automatically configured at start up. 65 Additionally, what is needed is a system and method for selecting and operating one of the plurality of the attached
devices, namely operating room devices. It is to the solution of the hereinabove mentioned problems to which the present invention is directed.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
In accordance with the present invention there is provided a control system for selecting from and controlling a plurality of devices in an operating room, the control system comprising:
a master controller, the master controller comprising:
a) means for receiving selection commands from a user wherein each selection command is associated with one specific device in electrical communication with the master controller;
b) means for receiving control commands from a user;
c) means for converting selection commands and control commands into corresponding selection signals and control signals;
d) means for routing control signals to a device specified by a selection command received by the means for receiving selection commands.
In accordance with a first aspect of the present invention, there is provided a master controller for selecting and controlling a plurality of devices. Each of the plurality of devices to be controlled are in electrical communication or in wireless communication with the master controller, either directly or via a slave controller which will be discussed in more detail hereinbelow with respect to the second aspect of the present invention.
The master controller includes means for receiving selection commands issued by a user. The selection commands available to the user are based upon the devices in electrical communication with the master controller. The master controller may recognize those devices that are in electrical communication therewith upon startup of the master controller. This will be described in detail in the description of the preferred embodiment. Each device in electrical communication with the master controller is represented by a correspondingly available selection command.
The master controller additionally includes means for receiving control commands from the user. Both the means for receiving selection commands and the means for receiving control commands from a user may be included in a voice control interface (VCI) for receiving voice commands. The system may additionally employ a foot pedal, a hand held device, or some other device which receives selection or control commands or inputs indicative of such commands from a user. The VCI provides signals indicative of a user's selection of a specific device and signals indicative of control commands the user wishes to supply to the device specified by a specific selection command. These are known, respectively, as selection signals and control signals. If the user is using a foot pedal, hand controller or some other input device, the VCI is not utilized as the inputs are already in the form of electrical signals as opposed to voice input. Alternatively, a combination of devices may be used to receive selection and control commands and to provide selection and control signals indicative of such commands.
The master controller additionally includes means for routing control signals to a device specified by a selection command. For example, if the user wants to operate the laser, a device used in many surgeries and contemplated as being included as one of the devices that may be operated via the control system of the present invention, then the user may issue a selection command indicating such, i.e. speak the word "laser" or the words "select laser". As such, the