The primary focus of the vision systems in current minimally invasive surgery (MIS) surgical systems has been on the improvement of immersive experience through a static approach. One of the current limitations in an MIS robotic surgery is the limited field of view and restricted perspective due to the use of a sole rigid 3D endoscope. We seek to integrate a modular articulable imaging device and the teleoperated surgical robot, RAVEN. Another additional flexible imager can be helpful in viewing occluded surgical targets, giving increased visualization options. Two probe designs are proposed and tested to evaluate a robotized steering mechanism within the MIS robot framework. Both designs, a separate flexible imager and a fixed camera on a tool tip, did not show much improvement in reducing task completion time. The new system may have some potential in improved precise manipulation of surgical tools, which may offer safety benefits once the surgeon is trained. We have demonstrated feasibility of a novel MIS instrument imaging device to aid in viewing potentially occluded surgical targets. A new concept, a modular axis-shared articulable imaging probe located at the vicinity of a tool tip, is proposed for future evaluation. Full integration of the new flexible imaging device into the grasper of the RAVEN surgical robot is under study coordinated with clinicians.

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