Integrated high pressure microhydraulic actuation and control for surgical instruments
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To reduce the surgical trauma to the patient, minimally invasive surgery is gaining considerable importance since the eighties. More recently, robot assisted minimally invasive surgery was introduced to enhance the surgeon’s performance in these procedures. This resulted in an intensive research on the design, fabrication and control of surgical robots over the last decades. A new development in the field of surgical tool manipulators is presented in this article: a flexible manipulator with distributed degrees of freedom powered by microhydraulic actuators. The tool consists of successive flexible segments, each with two bending degrees of freedom. To actuate these compliant segments, dedicated fluidic actuators are incorporated, together with compact hydraulic valves which control the actuator motion. Especially the development of microvalves for this application was challenging, and are the main focus of this paper. The valves distribute the hydraulic power from one common high pressure supply to a series of artificial muscle actuators. Tests show that the angular stroke of the each segment of this medical instrument is 90°.
KeywordsSurgical manipulator Minimally invasive surgery High pressure microvalves Hydraulic microactuator
This research was supported by the Fund for Scientific Research (FWO), and the Agency for Innovation by Science and Technology (IWT), Flanders, Belgium.
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