Research Papers

Robotic Visible Forceps Manipulator With a Novel Linkage Bending Mechanism

[+] Author and Article Information
Boyu Zhang

Department of Biomedical Engineering,
School of Medicine,
Tsinghua University,
Beijing 100084, China
e-mail: zhangby14@mails.tsinghua.edu.cn

Zhuxiu Liao

Department of Biomedical Engineering,
School of Medicine,
Tsinghua University,
Beijing 100084, China
e-mail: liaozx16@mails.tsinghua.edu.cn

Penghui Yang

Department of Biomedical Engineering,
School of Medicine,
Tsinghua University,
Beijing 100084, China
e-mail: yph17@mails.tsinghua.edu.cn

Hongen Liao

Department of Biomedical Engineering,
School of Medicine,
Tsinghua University,
Beijing 100084, China
e-mail: liao@tsinghua.edu.cn

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Mechanisms and Robotics Committee of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF MECHANISMS AND ROBOTICS. Manuscript received February 28, 2018; final manuscript received October 30, 2018; published online December 10, 2018. Assoc. Editor: Clement Gosselin.

J. Mechanisms Robotics 11(1), 011012 (Dec 10, 2018) (9 pages) Paper No: JMR-18-1055; doi: 10.1115/1.4041941 History: Received February 28, 2018; Revised October 30, 2018

In minimally invasive surgery (MIS), surgeons often suffer from occlusion region problems. It is difficult to solve these problems with traditional surgical instruments because of their size and rigid mechanical structure, such as endoscopes and corresponding operating tools. Thus, flexible manipulators and related robotic systems have been proposed for enhancing intraoperative inspection and surgical operation in MIS. Although a variety of flexible manipulators using different mechanisms have been developed, most of them are designed with a single function. In this paper, we present the concept of visible forceps that enriches the forceps function, which realizes the flexible bending capability and high output force, as well as the integrated endoscopic function. We developed a novel simplified linkage bending mechanism for forceps with a bendable tip and fabricated a robotic visible forceps manipulator system. According to this prototype, we performed experiments to evaluate the mechanical performance and the abdominal phantom test to evaluate the feasibility and usefulness. Preliminary results show that the forceps manipulator can realize both flexible bending capability and high output force, which implies promising applications in future MIS.

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Fig. 1

The system configuration of the visible forceps manipulator consists of a bending end effector with a bending mechanism and a wire-driven forceps mechanism, a drive unit with high-resolution motors and linear position sensors, a visualization unit with integrated micro CCD and lighting module, and a control unit for controlling linkage and driven-wire displacement

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Fig. 2

The concept of the bending mechanism driven by sliding linkage, transforming the linear motion of link 1 to the rotation of frames 2 and 3 to realize ±90 deg bending

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Fig. 3

A bending mechanism with three frames (frames 1–3), two frame joints (Fj1, Fj2), three linkages (links 1–3), corresponding three link joints (Lj1, Lj2, Lj3), and one constraint pin fixed on link 2 (CP), distance between Fj1 and Fj2 (F), distance between Lj1 and Lj2 (L1), distance between Lj2 and Lj3 (L2), mechanical offset along y-axis between Fj1 and Lj2 (b1),mechanical offset along y-axis between Fj2 and Lj3 (b2), mechanical offset along x-axis between Fj2 and Lj3 (a2), the actuator drive force (N), the external force (FN), the perpendicular distance from Fj2 to external force line (LN1), and the perpendicular distance from Fj1 to external force line (LN2)

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Fig. 5

Control diagram for the bending process. Relationship between target angle θr, computing target linear movement xr, current linear movement xf of link 1, and the differential linear displacement Δx.

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Fig. 4

Relationship between the total bending angle θ and link 1 linear movement x from the neutral position

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Fig. 6

(a) The mechanical design concept of the forceps mechanism. (b) Dimension and mechanical parameters of the wire-driven forceps mechanism. The origin point is set at the rotational pin. xr is the traction displacement. (xc,yc) is the virtual central point of the circular slot. r represents the radius of circular-slot on forceps blade. (a)and (b) are the mechanical parameters. Forceps angle β changes when we apply drag force T.

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Fig. 11

Bending performance of the manipulator with and without the visualization unit. Five trials were repeated in each configuration. The result shows the measured bending angle with error bar and the theoretical bending angle.

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Fig. 10

(a) Detection of bending characteristics using a camera-based measurement setup, (b) the bending characteristics and forceps angle characteristics under the captured image, and (c) output contact force measurement by a digital force sensor

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Fig. 9

Forceps mechanism test and visualization unit with LED on and off

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Fig. 8

Pilot bending performance test

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Fig. 7

(a) Protype of a visible forceps manipulator and (b) drive unit of the forceps with two linear movement components

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Fig. 12

Contact force with different total bending angles above 3 N

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Fig. 13

Bending force and rigidity experiment

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Fig. 14

Abdominal phantom experiment under real-time image guidance



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