AILap: Transforming Laparoscopic Surgery Training with AI


  • AILap, an AI-empowered system, enhances laparoscopic surgery training.
  • Developed by Heriot-Watt University and the University of Dundee.
  • Combines AI, machine learning, and machine vision to offer real-time feedback.
  • Addresses deficiencies in laparoscopic suturing skills among surgical trainees.
  • AILap democratizes training, enabling self-directed exercises with AI support.
  • £600,000 investment from the UK Government supports this transformative project.
  • The National Robotarium plays a pivotal role in advancing AI and robotics in healthcare.

Main AI News:

In the world of healthcare, precision is paramount, and laparoscopic (or keyhole) surgery has emerged as a critical technique for numerous medical procedures. However, training surgeons in this intricate skill has proven to be time-consuming, resource-intensive, and costly. The good news is that the landscape of surgical training is on the cusp of transformation, thanks to an innovative AI-empowered system called AILap.

Developed by a collaboration between the National Robotarium of Heriot-Watt University and the Dundee Institute for Healthcare Simulation at the University of Dundee, AILap leverages artificial intelligence (AI) to monitor human movements in real time. This self-training system is set to revolutionize laparoscopic surgery training by combining machine learning and machine vision technologies with affordable physical box trainers. What sets AILap apart is its ability to provide trainee surgeons with immediate, real-time feedback, thus enhancing their keyhole surgery techniques and skills.

A recent survey conducted by the Fellowship Council, a surgical training body, revealed a concerning statistic: up to 56% of fellows who completed their training were unable to perform laparoscopic suturing adequately. Laparoscopic suturing is not only a vital skill but also one of the most challenging to master. This deficiency in skill proficiency at the conclusion of surgical training underscores the need for a revolutionary solution like AILap.

AILap holds the promise of democratizing surgical training by offering trainees the opportunity to engage in self-directed exercises and receive AI-powered feedback. This innovative approach will not only benefit aspiring surgeons but also enable clinical academics responsible for surgical training to restructure their programs and accommodate a greater number of trainees with the support of AI.

Funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council as part of UK Research and Innovation, the AILap project has been awarded £600,000 by the UK Government. This investment demonstrates the government’s commitment to advancing healthcare through cutting-edge technology.

Dr. Mustafa Suphi Erden, the project lead and a National Robotarium academic, stated, “AILap technology has the potential to play an incredibly important role in supporting professional training in our public services and health systems.” He added, “We hope AILap will enable training a greater number of surgeons without the need for expert supervision. The technology will work with off-the-shelf components, making it affordable and accessible for healthcare systems worldwide.

The National Robotarium, which celebrated its first anniversary in September 2022, continues to be at the forefront of transformative projects. Stewart Miller, CEO of the National Robotarium, emphasized, “Technologies like this have enormous potential to address key challenges we face as a society.” He highlighted the significant impact of AILap on equipping prospective surgeons with the necessary knowledge and experience for laparoscopic procedures.

Malcolm Offord, UK Government Minister for Scotland, echoed the significance of this pioneering AI technology, stating, “This pioneering AI technology has the potential to deliver faster and cheaper training for surgeons in the UK, meaning improved skills and better outcomes for patients.” He emphasized the UK Government’s substantial investment in the National Robotarium, fostering world-leading research and contributing to economic growth in the region.


AILap’s integration of AI into laparoscopic surgery training has the potential to revolutionize the market by addressing critical skill deficiencies among surgical trainees. It democratizes training, making it more accessible and efficient. With government support and the involvement of cutting-edge facilities like the National Robotarium, this technology demonstrates the UK’s leadership in advancing healthcare through AI and robotics, offering promising prospects for improved surgical outcomes.