Master's projects

Steering and control of magnetically-actuated continuum manipulators

Surgical robotics is a field of minimally invasive surgery that has gained increasing acceptance over the last few years. In particular, an area of minimally invasive vascular surgery, endovascular surgery, has been applied during innovative and less invasive procedures. The current practice of endovascular procedures, however, is limited by a number of factors including patient-specific operation requirements, high-risk surgery procedures and time consuming operations. As a solution, continuum manipulators with a focus on magnetically actuated surgical catheters, have been introduced to the field of surgical robotics. More recently, advances in steerable catheters and development in the context of robotic steering have been studied and applied. Since the field of the magnetic steering of catheters is being developed during case studies, classifications and proposals are constantly being made. However, contributions from individual pieces of research are not very well defined.

Project: Previously, a Robotically-actuated Delivery Sheath (RADS) for mitral valve repair surgery has been developed by Vrooijink et al. The experimental testbed of this study consists of a Stewart platform carrying a realistic phantom heart model. Furthermore, Sikorski et al. introduced a second system, called the “BigMag”. It is a platform capable of the magnetic steering of clinically-relevant continuum manipulators. The need exists for a novel automatic navigation platform for the closed loop steering of continuum manipulators, under the guidance of a clinically-relevant US tracking modality. The methods of Vrooijink and Sikorski can be combined to implement such a platform. The goal of the project is to use the existing in vitro testbed that evaluates beating heart compensation capabilities of a robotically-steerable catheter. Instead of the existing catheter, the integration of a magnetically-actuated steerable catheter into the experimental testbed has to be performed. This will be done with the aid of UR robots. Further, preliminary experiments must be conducted in order to demonstrate control of the steerable catheter inside the moving in-vitro model.