The Application of Fluid Power to Meet the Needs of Surgical Robotics
Robotic surgery promises to produce continued development in surgical innovation. For this to occur, advanced technology for surgical devices and tools is needed. The present project aims to address the deficiencies of existing surgical tools through the development of a novel fluid powered robotic surgical platform. Unlike current robotic instruments in which a robot manipulates a set of cable driven, otherwise passive, end-effectors (tools), our vision is that the surgical tools themselves be the robotic device. This will improve accuracy and possibly introduce additional degrees of freedom. Our goals for this project include demonstrating the feasibility of a multi-articulated robotic platform in which the tools themselves comprise the robotic system rather than the more common passive end-effectors. The main challenges of the proposed device include multi-degree of freedom mechanism design, power delivery and actuation, micro-valve design and fabrication, and force-feedback control. These challenges will be met through the development of models and prototypes designed to demonstrate the necessary functionality.