First robotic tracheal intubations in humans using the Kepler intubation system

British Journal of Anesthesia, 04/12/2012

Hemmerling TM et al. – The authors present the first human testing of a robotic intubation system for oral tracheal intubation. The success rate was high at 91%. Future studies are needed to assess the performance and safety of such a system.


  • In this pilot study, 12 patients were enrolled after approval of the local Ethics board and written informed consent.
  • The KIS consists of four main components: a ThrustMaster T.Flight Hotas X joystick (Guillemot Inc., New York, NY, USA), a JACO robotic arm (Kinova Rehab, Montreal, QC, Canada), a Pentax AWS video laryngoscope (Ambu A/S, Ballerup, Denmark), and a software control system.
  • The joystick allows simulation of the wrist or arm movements of a human operator.
  • The success rate of intubation and intubation times were measured.


  • Eleven men and one woman aged 66 yr were included in this study.
  • Intubation was successful in all but one patient using KIS at a total time of [median (inter-quartile range; range)] 93 (87, 109; 76, 153) s; in one patient, fogging of the video laryngoscope prevented intubation using KIS.

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