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Cadaveric feasibility study of a teleoperated parallel continuum robot with variable stiffness for transoral surgery

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Robot-assisted technologies are overcoming the limitations of the current approaches for transoral surgeries, which are suffering from limited vision and workspace. As a result, we develop a novel teleoperated parallel continuum robot with variable stiffness for collision avoidance. This paper focuses on the feasibility study on a cadaveric model for the robotic system as a first trial. We introduce the configuration of the robotic system, the description of the processes of the trial, including the setting of the robotic system, the test of stiffness, and the action of the manipulation. The contact force between the manipulators with different stiffness and the surrounding tissues and a series of surgical operations of the manipulator, including grasping, cutting, pushing, and pulling tissues under the master-slave control mode, were recorded and analyzed. Experimental results suggest that the typical surgical procedure on a cadaveric model was successfully performed. Moreover, the efficacy and feasibility of the developed robotic system are verified to satisfy the requirements of transoral robotic surgery (TORS).

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This work is supported by the National Key Research and Development Program, the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) of China (No. 2018YFB1307703), and Singapore NMRC Bedside & Bench under grant R-397-000-245-511 awarded to Dr. Hongliang Ren.

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Correspondence to Hongliang Ren.

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Li, C., Gu, X., Xiao, X. et al. Cadaveric feasibility study of a teleoperated parallel continuum robot with variable stiffness for transoral surgery. Med Biol Eng Comput 58, 2063–2069 (2020).

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