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Design and Manufacturing of Embedded Pneumatic Actuators for an MRI-Compatible Prostate Cancer Binary Manipulator

[+] Author Affiliations
Geneviève Miron, Alexandre Girard, Jean-Sébastien Plante, Martin Lepage

Université de Sherbrooke, Sherbrooke, QC, Canada

Paper No. DETC2012-71380, pp. 1133-1142; 10 pages
  • ASME 2012 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference
  • Volume 4: 36th Mechanisms and Robotics Conference, Parts A and B
  • Chicago, Illinois, USA, August 12–15, 2012
  • Conference Sponsors: Design Engineering Division, Computers and Information in Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4503-5
  • Copyright © 2012 by ASME


Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) compatible robots can assist physicians in precisely inserting biopsy needles or therapeutic instruments directly into millimeter-size tumors using MR imaging feedback. MRI systems although present a challenging environment, including high magnetic fields and limited space, making the development of MRI-compatible robots complex. This paper presents an MRI-compatible pneumatic actuation technology consisting of molded polymer structures with embedded air-muscle, operated in a binary fashion. While having good positioning accuracy, the technology presents advantages of compactness, perfect MRI-compatibility, simplicity, and low cost. Here we specifically report the design and validation of a transperineal prostate cancer manipulator prototype having 20 embedded air-muscles distributed in four star-like polymer structures. Structures are made of silicone elastomer, using lost-core injection molding. The molded compliant joints of the muscles eliminate sliding surfaces, for low motion hysteresis and good repeatability. A simple and effective two-level design method for polymer air-muscles is proposed, using a manipulator model and three muscle models: geometrical, finite elements and uniaxial analytic. Binary control of each air-muscle assures stability and accuracy with minimized costs and complexity. The manipulator is tested MRI-compatible with no effects on the signal-to-noise ratio and, with appropriate image feedback, reaches targets with repeatability and accuracy under 0.5 mm. The embedded approach reveals to be a key feature since it reduces hysteresis errors by a factor of 6.6 compared to a previous non-embedded version of the manipulator. The successful validation of this binary manipulator opens the door to a new design paradigm for low cost and highly capable pneumatic robots, specifically for the intra-MRI manipulation.

Copyright © 2012 by ASME



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