Rigid-Flexible Outer Sheath Model Using Slider Linkage Locking Mechanism and Air Pressure for Endoscopic Surgery
The objective of this paper is to develop an outer sheath for flexible endoscopic manipulators. This sheath can switch two states including flexible and rigid, and make a rigid curved path for inserting manipulators. The flexible mode can be curved into a required shape. The rigid mode can hold the shape of the sheath, and then keep the path for instruments. Through the managed path, the flexible manipulators become easy to reach the target. We proposed a serial multi joint model to realize the flexible mechanism. This model is composed of a set of frame units which are connected serially. Each unit can be rotated to a given angle around the center of the joint. We developed a slider-link mechanism and a gear stopper controlled by air pressure for rigid mode. We designed and fabricated the prototype with a diameter of 16mm and length of 290mm. The experiment showed that the device could be switched from the flexible mode to the rigid mode when the air pressure was over 150kPa, and each joint could hold its angle against the maximum 400mNm. The phantom experiment showed that the flexible devices are possible to transmit the wire tension to the endpoint of the manipulator without changing the curving shape with by the developed outer sheath device.
KeywordsExternal Force Natural Rubber Wire Guide Laparoscopic Radical Prostatectomy Phantom Experiment
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