This paper presents a novel control architecture for enhanced operator awareness and improved safety in telesurgical systems. We introduce an intermediate layer between the master and slave sides which allows us to modify the slave motion for safety and the force feedback for operator awareness. The intermediate layer is then designed with a performance objective for the specific task at hand. The control scheme is validated via experiments using a suture and an industrial manipulator. More specifically we show that operator awareness should be implemented as an integrated part of the safety level to maintain safety during surgery.
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