A Miniature Suction-gripper with Passive and Active Microneedle Arrays to Manipulate Peripheral Nerves

Jang, NamseonIhn, Yong SeokJeong, JinwooYang, SungwookYim, SehyukOh, Sang-RokKim, KeehoonHwang, Donghyun
Issue Date
International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), pp.9202 - 9208
We develop a miniature suction-gripper with the goal to realize the novel robotic surgical instrument that can grip slippery and flexible peripheral nerves. In developing the instrument, we place a priority on devising the method that can robustly grip the nerve bundles during the surgical operation for the peripheral nerve. Also, we concentrate to investigate the working principle being able to minimize nerve damages that might be caused when manipulating the nerve. In this study, as the most suitable method to achieve the goal, we scheme to utilize the suction mechanism. Because it can non-invasively grip the nerve based on negative pressure, no external force is applied to the nervous tissues. Therefore the peripheral nerve can be manipulated without serious nerve damage (e.g. crush injury and stretch injury). To improve the gripping ability of the proposed suction gripper, two different types of microneedle arrays are applied to the suction-tips: passive-microneedle (PMN) arrays and active-microneedle (AMN) arrays. Since the most outer membrane of the nerve can be anchored by the penetrated PMN and AMN, the gripper can grip the nerve more robustly. The designed suction-gripper is fabricated as a functional prototype, and its working performances are assessed with in-vitro and in-vivo animal experiments. The experimental results well demonstrate the practical effectiveness of the proposed method and its applicability to the neurosurgical robot for the peripheral nerve.
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KIST Conference Paper > 2019
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