Title: Early developments of a novel smart actuator inspired by nature

Authors: Luca Frasson, Tassanai Parittotokkaporn, Brian L. Davies, Ferdinando Rodriguez y Baena

Addresses: Department of Mechanical Engineering, Imperial College, London SW7 2AZ, UK. ' Department of Mechanical Engineering, Imperial College, London SW7 2AZ, UK. ' Department of Mechanical Engineering, Imperial College, London SW7 2AZ, UK. ' Department of Mechanical Engineering, Imperial College, London SW7 2AZ, UK

Abstract: Current research at Imperial College focuses on the development of a novel neurosurgical probe for Minimally Invasive Surgery (MIS), which exploits the design of certain ovipositing wasps. While conventional instruments are rigid and only used to achieve straight-line trajectories, the biomimetic design will enable curved paths connecting any entry point to any target within the brain to be followed autonomously. This paper reports on the successful outcome of an early feasibility study, where two of the key concepts behind the design are investigated: a robotic actuator was developed to demonstrate effective soft tissue traversal by reciprocating custom-built anisotropic surface textures, without the need to apply an external force to push the tissue along. Then, custom-designed rigid probes with bio-inspired surface topographies were fabricated and tested on cadaveric porcine brain with the aim to characterise the insertion and extraction forces due to friction and tribological interaction with biological tissue.

Keywords: medical robotics; smart actuators; biomimetics; neurosurgery; needle insertion; intelligent systems; wood boring wasps; soft tissue surgery; neurosurgical probes; minimal invasive surgery; ovipositing wasps; brain surgery; robot actuators; anisotropic surface textures; surface topography; tribology; friction; biomedical engineering.

DOI: 10.1504/IJISTA.2010.030220

International Journal of Intelligent Systems Technologies and Applications, 2010 Vol.8 No.1/2/3/4, pp.409 - 422

Available online: 11 Dec 2009 *

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