A High-Force, High-Stroke Distal Robotic Add-On for Endoscopy

Joshua Gafford1, Robert Wood1, Conor James Walsh1

  • 1Harvard University



Regular Papers


11:30 - 12:45 | Tue 30 May | Room 4911/4912 | TUB10

Medical Robots and Systems 1

Full Text


`Snap-On' robotic modules that can integrate distally with existing commercially-available endoscopic equipment have the potential to provide new capabilities such as enhanced dexterity, bilateral manipulation and feedback sensing with minimal disruption of the current clinical workflow. However, the desire for fully-distal integration of sensors and actuators and the resulting form factor requirements preclude the use of many off-the-shelf actuators capable of generating the relevant strokes and forces required to interact with tools and tissue. In this work, we investigate the use of millimeter-scale, optimally-packed helical shape memory alloy (SMA) actuators in an antagonistic configuration to provide distal actuation without the need for a continuous mechanical coupling to proximal, off-board actuation packages to realize a truly plug-and-play solution. Using phenomenological modeling, we design and fabricate antagonistic helical SMA pairs and implement them in an at-scale roboendoscopic module to generate strokes and forces necessary for deflecting tools passed through the endoscope working port, thereby providing a controllable robotic `wrist' inside the body to otherwise passive flexible tools. Bandwidth is drastically improved through the integration of targeted fluid cooling. The integrated system can generate lateral forces of 10N and demonstrates 96 degrees of distal angulation, expanding the reachable workspace of tools passed through a standard endoscope.

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