Following Surgical Trajectories with Concentric Tube Robots via Nearest-Neighbor Graphs

Conference paper
Part of the Springer Proceedings in Advanced Robotics book series (SPAR, volume 11)


Concentric tube robots, or CTRs, are tentacle-like robots composed of precurved telescoping tubes (Fig. 1a) and are controlled by rotating and translating each individual tube [6]. Their dexterity and small diameter enable minimally-invasive surgery in constrained areas, such as accessing the pituitary gland via the sinuses. Unfortunately, their unintuitive kinematics make manually guiding the tip while also avoiding obstacles with the entire tentacle-like shape extremely difficult [19]. This motivates a need for new user interfaces and planning algorithms.



We thank Bob Webster and his group at Vanderbilt University for numerous discussions on CTRs and for creating the CTR used here. We thank Rachel Holladay for her invaluable insight in discussing her previous work. This work was (partially) funded by the National Institute of Health R01 (#R01EB019335), National Science Foundation CPS (#1544797), National Science Foundation NRI (#1637748), National Science Foundation RI Award 1149965, the Office of Naval Research, the RCTA, Amazon, and Honda.

Supplementary material

489953_1_En_1_MOESM1_ESM.mp4 (2.7 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (mp4 2766 KB)


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Computer Science and EngineeringUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA
  2. 2.Department of Computer ScienceUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel HillUSA
  3. 3.The Robotics InstituteCarnegie Mellon UniversityPittsburghUSA

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