18 March 2016 Endoscopes and robots for tight surgical spaces: use of precurved elastic elements to enhance curvature
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Abstract
Many applications in medicine require flexible surgical manipulators and endoscopes capable of reaching tight curvatures. The maximum curvature these devices can achieve is often restricted either by a strain limit, or by a maximum actuation force that the device's components can tolerate without risking mechanical failure. In this paper we propose the use of precurvature to "bias" the workspace of the device in one direction. Combined with axial shaft rotation, biasing increases the size of the device's workspace, enabling it to reach tighter curvatures than a comparable device without biasing can achieve, while still being able to fully straighten. To illustrate this effect, we describe several example prototype devices which use flexible nitinol strips that can be pushed and pulled to generate bending. We provide a statics model that relates the manipulator curvature to actuation force, and validate it experimentally.
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Andria A. Remirez, Robert J. Webster, "Endoscopes and robots for tight surgical spaces: use of precurved elastic elements to enhance curvature", Proc. SPIE 9786, Medical Imaging 2016: Image-Guided Procedures, Robotic Interventions, and Modeling, 97860R (18 March 2016); doi: 10.1117/12.2217718; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2217718
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