Author: Lai, Jiewen
Title: Development of a soft continuum robot system for surgical blood suction
Advisors: Chu, Henry (ME)
Cheng, Li (ME)
Degree: Ph.D.
Year: 2022
Subject: Surgical robots
Manipulators (Mechanism)
Surgical technology
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Department: Department of Mechanical Engineering
Pages: xvi, 180 pages : color illustrations
Language: English
Abstract: Soft-bodied robotic manipulators have great potential for the use in robot-assisted minimally invasive surgery (R-MIS), owing to their advantages of high flexibility with theoretically infinite degrees of freedom (DOF). The manipulator's dexterity allows the soft robot—as a surgical tool—to conduct sophisticated operations deep inside the human intracavity through a keyhole with a diameter of a few millimeters. Compared to a rigid surgical tool, a soft-robot-as-a-surgical tool (SaaS) is advantageous in terms of interaction safety, dexterity, compliance, and cost-efficiency.
The automation of some standard surgical procedures may greatly contribute to the field of surgery, as it helps to relief the burden for surgeons so that they can be more concentrated on the other complicated surgical tasks. One of the to-be-automated procedures is the surgical blood suction. In MIS, the undesired bleeding happens all the time. The residual blood, on one hand, may severely cover the surgical site and block the endoscopic vision, and on the other hand, requires a timely collection for future self-transfusion.
In this work, motivated by this medical demand, a soft continuum robot system for surgical blood suction is developed. This thesis covers a complete development period of this system, including the requirement investigation, robot design, prototype fabrication, robot modeling, robot control, simulations, experiments, and application tests.
Based on the application, this research concerns the robotic control for the end-effector pose and robot configuration. Integrated with the robotic vision, different control methods are studied, including model-based control, model-free control, and the hybrid of model-based and model-free control. To automate the trajectorized blood suction, a special configuration control scheme for tip trajectory tracking is proposed. A suction trajectory can be automatically generated based on the visual detection of blood. With optimization-based motion planning, the soft robot can gain full control of its tip position and orientation in 3D space. Making use of the system redundancy, a manipulator-obstacle collision avoidance algorithm is proposed. For model-free control, a machine learning-based inverse kinematics solver is developed to provide a rapid inverse configuration solution. A visual servoing method with an interactive interface is developed to configuration control in various payload conditions. Finally, a generalized depth vision-based stiffness control method for the soft robot is developed, where the robot can adjust its rigidity without special mechanical design but with only actuation regulation. The abovementioned topics are verified through both simulations and experiments.
As a pre-clinical research, this work contributes a proof-of-concept soft continuum robot system for surgical blood suction. By fulfilling the possible demands, various robot control methods are studied. This work offers a tool to support the surgeons for R-MIS.
Rights: All rights reserved
Access: open access

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