The snake-like robot

One of the grandiose research project at CISST is the development of the snake-like robot. These are highly dexterous, flexible surgical instruments, compatible with the da Vinci system. It can help surgeons to operate though the throat of the patient, as the tool can bend in an S shape, while keeping the original 6DOF controllability. This may be an important and convenient way to perform minimally invasive surgery. The tool is MRI compatible, and includes force sensors to help e.g. the difficult procedure of knot tying. The robot has innovative features, it uses push-pull superelastic backbones and actuation redundancy and eliminates dependency on precision joints and backlash. It was designed to be simple to manufacture and even downs-scalable to smaller diameters. Several phantom tests have already been performed, and clinical trials are to follow.

Further readings: ppt presentation on the control behind the robot, an article on the system and a showup in the New York Times.


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