Logo Leibniz Universität Hannover
Logo: Emmy Noether research group CROSS/Leibniz Universität Hannover
Logo Leibniz Universität Hannover
Logo: Emmy Noether research group CROSS/Leibniz Universität Hannover
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Tubular Continuum Robots for Surgical Applications

Actuation is achieved by translating and rotating the tubes axially.
Prototype tubular continuum robot consisting of three NiTi tubes (diameter of inner tube 0.8mm).

The German Research Foundation's (DFG) Emmy Noether project CROSS focusses on a special sub-category of continuum robots. Those robots are composed of multiple concentric, pre-curved, superelastic tubes. Actuation is achieved through translation and rotation of each of the tubes. Those tubes are typically made out of Nitinol. Such a concentric tube continuum robot (also known as active cannula) is comparable to surgical needles from its size, but allows manipulability of a robot at the same time.

Work Packages

Optimization

The characteristics of tubular continuum robots can be chosen application specific, as their structure defined by multiple, flexible, elastic tubes. The design space (i.e. tube parameters) is diverse. Depending on the medical application and individual patient anatomy, the requirements on the robot may vary.

The complex mechanical interaction between the elastic tubes during actuation makes manual, ad hoc selection of tube design parameters almost impossible. We investigate optimization algorithms and methods to determine tube parameters for specific applications. Furthermore, we establishing design patterns to faciliate tube selection and composition.

Motion Planning

The kinematic modelling of tubular continuum robots is complex and their configuration and workspace non trivial. We investigate trajectory generation and motion planning algorithms for safe application within patients. Our focus lies on the development of real-time and adaptive methods.

Human-Robot Interface

Continuum robots are inspired by nature and are able to exhibit complex motions. But how can we intuitively control and interact with a continuum robot? We investigate human-robot interfaces with specific consideration of their application in the operating room and use by a surgeon.

Optimization

The characteristics of tubular continuum robots can be chosen application specific, as their structure defined by multiple, flexible, elastic tubes. The design space (i.e. tube parameters) is diverse. Depending on the medical application and individual patient anatomy, the requirements on the robot may vary.

The complex mechanical interaction between the elastic tubes during actuation makes manual, ad hoc selection of tube design parameters almost impossible. We investigate optimization algorithms and methods to determine tube parameters for specific applications. Furthermore, we establishing design patterns to faciliate tube selection and composition.

Motion Planning

The kinematic modelling of tubular continuum robots is complex and their configuration and workspace non trivial. We investigate trajectory generation and motion planning algorithms for safe application within patients. Our focus lies on the development of real-time and adaptive methods.

Human-Robot Interface

Continuum robots are inspired by nature and are able to exhibit complex motions. But how can we intuitively control and interact with a continuum robot? We investigate human-robot interfaces with specific consideration of their application in the operating room and use by a surgeon.

Prototype Tubular Continuum Robot

  • 3 concentric NiTi tubes
  • Diameter < 2.2 mm