Annals of Biomedical Engineering

, Volume 44, Issue 10, pp 2863–2873

A Concentric Tube Continuum Robot with Piezoelectric Actuation for MRI-Guided Closed-Loop Targeting

  • Hao Su
  • Gang Li
  • D. Caleb Rucker
  • Robert J. Webster III
  • Gregory S. Fischer

DOI: 10.1007/s10439-016-1585-7

Cite this article as:
Su, H., Li, G., Rucker, D.C. et al. Ann Biomed Eng (2016) 44: 2863. doi:10.1007/s10439-016-1585-7


This paper presents the design, modeling and experimental evaluation of a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)-compatible concentric tube continuum robotic system. This system enables MRI-guided deployment of a precurved and steerable concentric tube continuum mechanism, and is suitable for clinical applications where a curved trajectory is needed. This compact 6 degree-of-freedom (DOF) robotic system is piezoelectrically-actuated, and allows simultaneous robot motion and imaging with no visually observable image artifact. The targeting accuracy is evaluated with optical tracking system and gelatin phantom under live MRI-guidance with Root Mean Square (RMS) errors of 1.94 and 2.17 mm respectively. Furthermore, we demonstrate that the robot has kinematic redundancy to reach the same target through different paths. This was evaluated in both free space and MRI-guided gelatin phantom trails, with RMS errors of 0.48 and 0.59 mm respectively. As the first of its kind, MRI-guided targeted concentric tube needle placements with ex vivo porcine liver are demonstrated with 4.64 mm RMS error through closed-loop control of the piezoelectrically-actuated robot.


MR-conditional Concentric tube continuum robot Image-guided surgery 

Funding information

Funder NameGrant NumberFunding Note
National Science Foundation
  • IIS-1054331
National Institutes of Health (US)
  • R01CA111288

Copyright information

© Biomedical Engineering Society 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hao Su
    • 1
  • Gang Li
    • 2
  • D. Caleb Rucker
    • 3
  • Robert J. Webster III
    • 4
  • Gregory S. Fischer
    • 2
  1. 1.Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering and the John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied SciencesHarvard UniversityCambridgeUSA
  2. 2.Automation and Interventional Medicine (AIM) Robotics Laboratory, Department of Mechanical EngineeringWorcester Polytechnic InstituteWorcesterUSA
  3. 3.Vanderbilt Institute in Surgery and EngineeringVanderbilt UniversityNashvilleUSA
  4. 4.University of TennesseeKnoxvilleUSA

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