The European Physical Journal Special Topics

, Volume 222, Issue 7, pp 1503–1518 | Cite as

A variable stiffness transverse mode shape memory alloy actuator as a minimally invasive organ positioner

  • W. Anderson
  • A. Eshghinejad
  • R. Azadegan
  • C. Cooper
  • M. Elahinia
Regular Article


Smart materials have gained a great deal of attention in recent years because of their unique actuation properties. Actuators are needed in the medical field where space is limited. Presented within this work is an organ positioner used to position the esophagus away from the left atrium to avoid the development of an esophageal fistula during atrial fibrillation (afib) ablation procedures. Within this work, a subroutine was implemented into the finite element framework to predict the midspan load capacity of a near equiatomic NiTi specimen in both the super elastic and shape memory regimes. The purpose of the simulations and experimental results was to develop a design envelope for the organ positioning device. The transverse loading experiments were conducted at several different temperatures leading to the ability to design a variable stiffness actuator. This is essential because the actuator must not be too stiff to injure the organ it is positioning. Extended further, geometric perturbations were applied in the virtual model and the entire design envelope was developed. Further, nitinol was tested for safety in the radio-frequency environment (to ensure that local heating will not occur in the ablation environment). With the safety of the device confirmed, a primitive prototype was manufactured and successfully tested in a cadaver. The design of the final device is also presented. The contribution of this work is the presentation of a new type of positoning device for medical purposes (NiTiBOP). In the process a comprehensive model for transverse actuation of an SMA actuator was developed and experimentally verified.


Austenite Martensite Shape Memory Alloy European Physical Journal Special Topic Energy Harvest 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© EDP Sciences and Springer 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • W. Anderson
    • 1
  • A. Eshghinejad
    • 1
  • R. Azadegan
    • 2
  • C. Cooper
    • 3
  • M. Elahinia
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Toledo, College of EngineeringToledoUSA
  2. 2.University of Michigan, College of EngineeringMichiganUSA
  3. 3.University of Toledo, Medical CenterToledoUSA

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