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Multi Degree of Freedom Hinge Joints Embedded on Tubes for Miniature Steerable Medical Devices
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With the proliferation of successful minimally invasive surgical techniques, comes the challenge of shrinking the size of surgical instruments further to facilitate use in applications such as neurosurgery, pediatric surgery, and needle procedures. The present thesis introduces laser machined, multi-degree-of-freedom (DoF) hinge joints embedded on tubes, as a possible means to realize such miniature instruments without the need for any assembly. A method to design such a joint for an estimated range of motion is explored by using geometric principles. A geometric model is developed to characterize the joint and relate it to the laser machining parameters, design parameters, and the workpiece parameters. The extent of interference between the moving parts of the joint can be used to predict the range of motion of the joint for rigid tubes and for future design optimization. The total usable workspace is estimated using kinematic principles for joints in series and for two sets of orthogonal joints. The predicted range of motion was compared to the measured values for fabricated samples of different hinge sizes and kerf dimensions, and it was shown that the predicted values are close to the measured ranges across samples. The embedded hinge joints described in this thesis could be used for micro-robotic applications and minimally invasive surgical devices for neurosurgery and pediatric surgery. Our work can open up avenues to a new class of miniature robotic medical devices with hinge joints and a usable channel for drug delivery.
Pattanshetti, Shivanand (2017). Multi Degree of Freedom Hinge Joints Embedded on Tubes for Miniature Steerable Medical Devices. Master's thesis, Texas A & M University. Available electronically from