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ICRA 2023



Jessica Burgner-Kahrs

Jessica Burgner-Kahrs

Continuum Robotics Laboratory - Robotics Institute at the University of Toronto, Publication Co-Chair

Presentation - Accelerating Medical Robotics Innovation with the Open Continuum Robotics Project

From robotically steered catheters and bronchoscopes to single port flexible instruments, continuum robotics has led to great advances in medical robotics over the past decade. Yet, research findings remain stubbornly difficult to reproduce because continuum robotics hardware and software are not readily available, and no common systems exist. Ultimately this slows the pace of innovation.

The Open Continuum Robotics Project combines hardware, software, and education with the goal of fostering more collaborative, cost-effective, and reproducible research. This enables rapid prototyping and iterative design, allowing researchers and clinicians to test and refine their ideas more quickly – including in resource-constrained settings. In this way, the Open Continuum Robotics Project accelerates the development of new technologies and treatments in medical robotics.


Dr. Jessica Burgner-Kahrs is an Associate Professor with the Departments of Mathematical & Computational Sciences, Computer Science, and Mechanical & Industrial Engineering, the founding Director of the Continuum Robotics Laboratory, and Associate Director of the Robotics Institute at the University of Toronto, Canada. She received her Diplom and Ph.D. in computer science from Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Germany in 2006 and 2010 respectively. Before joining the University of Toronto, she was Associate Professor with Leibniz University Hannover, Germany and a postdoctoral fellow with Vanderbilt University, USA.

Her research was recognized with the Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Prize, the Engineering Science Prize, the Lower Saxony Science Award in the category Young Researcher, and she was entitled Young Researcher of the Year 2015 in Germany. She was elected as one of the Top 40 under 40 in the category Science and Society in 2015, 2016, and 2017 by the business magazine Capital and elected one of 100 Young Global Leaders from the World Economic Forum in 2019. Jessica is a Senior member of the IEEE, a Distinguished Lecturer of the IEEE Robotics & Automation Society, and serves as a senior editor for IEEE Robotics & Automation Letters.