We propose a tubular manipulator incorporated into the electrode array composed of an inner wire within a tube, both elastic and helically shaped. It is our vision to use this manipulator to actuate the initially straight electrode array during insertion into the cochlea by actuation of the wire and tube, i.e. translation and slight axial rotation. In this paper, we evaluate the geometry of the human cochlea in 22 patient datasets in order to derive design requirements for the manipulator. We propose an optimization algorithm to automatically determine the tube set parameters (curvature, torsion, diameter, length) for an ideal final position within the cochlea. To prove our concept, we demonstrate that insertion can be realized in a follow-the-leader fashion for 19 out of 22 cochleas. This is possible with only 4 different tube/wire sets.
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Josephine Granna, Thomas S. Rau, Thien-Dang Nguyen, Thomas Lenarz, Omid Majdani, Jessica Burgner-Kahrs, "Toward automated cochlear implant insertion using tubular manipulators," Proc. SPIE 9786, Medical Imaging 2016: Image-Guided Procedures, Robotic Interventions, and Modeling, 97861F (18 March 2016);