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Pneumatic Miniature Robot for Laparoendoscopic Single Incision Surgery

[+] Author Affiliations
Abolfazl Pourghodrat, Jeff Midday

University of Nebraska Lincoln, Lincoln, NE

Carl A. Nelson

University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, NE

Paper No. DETC2012-70454, pp. 43-48; 6 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


The transition from open surgery to Laparoendoscopic Single-Site (LESS) surgery to minimize cost and recovery time and improve cosmetic scarring has introduced complexities such as reduced dexterity, restricted workspace, and unintuitive controls. Surgical robotic systems can come into play to address these complexities. The most recent miniature in vivo robots have demonstrated the capability of performing LESS surgery. Since size has been a key driving force for designing these motor-driven robotic platforms, delivering adequate force and torque to perform the surgical tasks has been a primary challenge for improving these robots.

This paper presents a robotic platform actuated primarily by pneumatics, offering the following advantages over motor-driven systems: higher joint torque and tool actuation force, faster actuation, better biocompatibility, better overall robustness, and lower cost. Initially one representative robot joint has been fabricated, to demonstrate the proof of concept and investigate the feasibility of angular position control of the pneumatic joint by deploying a minimal number of electronic components and two low-cost solenoid valves in place of costly fast solenoid valves or expensive servo valves.

The robot design, pneumatic system, implementation of PID and PWM controls, and experimental results are presented.

Copyright © 2012 by ASME
Topics: Robots , Surgery



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