STIFF-FLOP surgical manipulator: Mechanical design and experimental characterization of the single module

Abstract

This paper presents the concept design, the fabrication and the experimental characterization of a unit of a modular manipulator for minimal access surgery. Traditional surgical manipulators are usually based on metallic steerable needles, tendon driven mechanisms or articulated motorized links. In this work the main idea is to combine flexible fluidic actuators enabling omnidirectional bending and elongation capability and the granular jamming phenomenon to implement a selective stiffness changing. The proposed manipulator is based on a series of identical modules, each one consisting of a silicone tube with pneumatic chambers for allowing 3D motion and one central channel for the implementation of the granular jamming phenomenon for stiffening. The silicone is covered by a novel bellows-shaped braided structure maximizing the bending still limiting lateral expansion. In this paper one single module is tested in terms of bending range, elongation capability, generated forces and stiffness changing.

DOI: 10.1109/IROS.2013.6696866

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@article{Cianchetti2013STIFFFLOPSM, title={STIFF-FLOP surgical manipulator: Mechanical design and experimental characterization of the single module}, author={Matteo Cianchetti and Tommaso Ranzani and Giada Gerboni and Iris De Falco and Cecilia Laschi and Arianna Menciassi}, journal={2013 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems}, year={2013}, pages={3576-3581} }