This innovation is a miniature, in-vivo surgical robot that is able to be inserted into the peritoneal cavity under insufflation. It is designed to perform Laparoendoscopic Single-Site Surgery (LESS). This robotic device is capable of direct visualization of the surgical procedure, and manual or autonomous repositioning within the abdominal cavity.

The robotic device can be manually inserted into the abdominal cavity. The device has a body, and left and right arms that are each comprised of two segments: an upper arm and a forearm. Various joints in the right arm provide for various degrees of freedom. The device body has a motor housing that contains at least one motor and a master control board or other processor. The body also has a gear housing coupled to the motor housing.

This robotic device has a workspace volume with high dexterity and manipulability. Repositioning of the inserted arms expands the workspace volume to include the entire abdominal cavity. The surgical robot is also able to be internally repositioned both manually and robotically throughout the workspace. A pre-defined boundary can be created between the workspace boundary, or limits, and the optimal region of the workspace, so that if the device crosses this ˆpredefined boundary, the system is triggered to automatically and/or autonomously reposition the robotic device back to the optimal workspace. Autonomous gross positioning eliminates the associated human errors that can occur during the positioning of the robotic device. An endoscopic camera and lights are affixed to the robot for surgical workspace visualization.

This work was done by Shane Farritor, Eric Markvicka, and Tom Frederick of the University of Nebraska for Johnson Space Center. MSC-25519-1


NASA Tech Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the March, 2016 issue of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine.

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