Developments and Control of Biocompatible Conducting Polymer for Intracorporeal Continuum Robots


Dexterity of robots is highly required when it comes to integration for medical applications. Major efforts have been conducted to increase the dexterity at the distal parts of medical robots. This paper reports on developments toward integrating biocompatible conducting polymers (CP) into inherently dexterous concentric tube robot paradigm. In the form of tri-layer thin structures, CP micro-actuators produce high strains while requiring less than 1 V for actuation. Fabrication, characterization, and first integrations of such micro-actuators are presented. The integration is validated in a preliminary telescopic soft robot prototype with qualitative and quantitative performance assessment of accurate position control for trajectory tracking scenarios. Further, CP micro-actuators are integrated to a laser steering system in a closed-loop control scheme with displacements up to 5 mm. Our first developments aim toward intracorporeal medical robotics, with miniaturized actuators to be embedded into continuum robots.

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This work has been supported by the Labex ACTION project (contract “ANR-11-LABX-0001-01”), the Equipex ROBOTEX project (contract “ANR-10-EQPX-44-01”), and the French RENATECH network and its FEMTO-ST technological facility.

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Correspondence to Mohamed Taha Chikhaoui.

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Associate Editor Joel Stitzel oversaw the review of this article.

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Chikhaoui, M.T., Benouhiba, A., Rougeot, P. et al. Developments and Control of Biocompatible Conducting Polymer for Intracorporeal Continuum Robots. Ann Biomed Eng 46, 1511–1521 (2018).

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  • Conducting polymers
  • Micro-actuators
  • Continuum robots
  • Medical robotics
  • Position control