18 March 2015 Additive manufacturing of patient-specific tubular continuum manipulators
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Abstract
Tubular continuum robots, which are composed of multiple concentric, precurved, elastic tubes, provide more dexterity than traditional surgical instruments at the same diameter. The tubes can be precurved such that the resulting manipulator fulfills surgical task requirements. Up to now the only material used for the component tubes of those manipulators is NiTi, a super-elastic shape-memory alloy of nickel and titan. NiTi is a cost-intensive material and fabrication processes are complex, requiring (proprietary) technology, e.g. for shape setting. In this paper, we evaluate component tubes made of 3 different thermoplastic materials (PLA, PCL and nylon) using fused filament fabrication technology (3D printing). This enables quick and cost-effective production of custom, patient-specific continuum manipulators, produced on site on demand. Stress-strain and deformation characteristics are evaluated experimentally for 16 fabricated tubes of each thermoplastic with diameters and shapes equivalent to those of NiTi tubes. Tubes made of PCL and nylon exhibit properties comparable to those made of NiTi. We further demonstrate a tubular continuum manipulator composed of 3 nylon tubes in a transnasal, transsphenoidal skull base surgery scenario in vitro.
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Ernar Amanov, Thien-Dang Nguyen, Jessica Burgner-Kahrs, "Additive manufacturing of patient-specific tubular continuum manipulators", Proc. SPIE 9415, Medical Imaging 2015: Image-Guided Procedures, Robotic Interventions, and Modeling, 94151P (18 March 2015); doi: 10.1117/12.2081999; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2081999
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