An anthropomorphic design for a minimally invasive surgical system based on a survey of surgical technologies, techniques and training

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Tzemanaki, A. ; Walters, P. ; Pipe, A. G. ; Melhuish, C. ; Dogramadzi, S. (2014)

Background: Over the past century, abdominal surgery has seen a rapid transition from open procedures to less invasive methods such as robot-assisted minimally invasive surgery (MIS). This paper aims to investigate and discuss the needs of MIS in terms of instrumentation and to inform the design of a novel instrument.\ud Methods: A survey was conducted among surgeons regarding their opinions on surgical training, surgical systems, how satisfied they are with them and how easy they are to use. A concept for MIS robotic instrumentation was then developed and a series of focus groups with surgeons were ran to discuss it. The initial prototype of the robotic instruments, herein demonstrated, comprises modular rigid links with soft joints actuated by shape memory alloy helix\ud actuators; these instruments are controlled using a sensory hand exoskeleton.\ud Results: The results of the survey, as well as the ones of the focus groups, are presented here. A first prototype of the system was built and initial laboratory rests have been conducted in order to evaluate this approach.\ud Conclusions: The analysed data from both the survey and the focus groups justify the chosen concept of anthropomorphic MIS robotic instrumentation which imitates the natural motion of the hands.
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