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Technical Brief

Customizable Soft Pneumatic Chamber–Gripper Devices for Delicate Surgical Manipulation

[+] Author and Article Information
Jin-Huat Low

Department of Biomedical Engineering,
National University of Singapore,
9 Engineering Drive 1,
Block EA #03-12,
117575, Singapore;
Singapore Institute for Neurotechnology,
National University of Singapore,
28 Medical Dr. #05-COR,
117456, Singapore
e-mail: bieljh@nus.edu.sg

Ignacio Delgado-Martinez

Singapore Institute for Neurotechnology,
National University of Singapore,
28 Medical Dr. #05-COR,
117456, Singapore
e-mail: ignacio.delgado@nus.edu.sg

Chen-Hua Yeow

Department of Biomedical Engineering,
National University of Singapore,
9 Engineering Drive 1,
Block EA #03-12,
117575, Singapore;
Singapore Institute for Neurotechnology,
National University of Singapore,
28 Medical Dr. #05-COR,
117456, Singapore
e-mail: rayeow@nus.edu.sg

Manuscript received November 5, 2013; final manuscript received May 9, 2014; published online xx xx, xxxx. Assoc. Editor: Carl Nelson.

J. Med. Devices 8(4), 044504 (Aug 19, 2014) (5 pages) Paper No: MED-13-1271; doi: 10.1115/1.4027688 History: Received November 05, 2013; Revised May 09, 2014

Traditional hard tissue grippers are limited in handling delicate soft tissues during surgery, particularly due to the high stress points that are generated on the soft tissue during gripping. In this study, customizable soft pneumatic chamber–gripper devices were designed to provide compliant gripping, so as to replace conventional tissue grippers such as the laparoscopic grasper or forceps in delicate tissue manipulation. The soft chamber–gripper device involves very simple design and control to generate actuation. It is fabricated from an elastomeric material using a modified soft lithography technique. The device consists of a gripper component that can be made up of one or more gripper arms with a pneumatic channel in each arm, and a chamber filled with air. The pneumatic channels are positioned close to the outer wall of the gripper arms and are connected to the chamber. Upon compression of the chamber, the pneumatic channels will inflate towards the outer walls, which thus bends the gripper arms and results in a closed gripping posture. This soft chamber–gripper device can be used to pick up objects of size up to 2 mm with a compressive force that is more than three times smaller than the grip force generated by traditional forceps. This will be useful in preventing tissue trauma during surgical manipulation, especially in nerve anastomosis.

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Copyright © 2014 by ASME
Topics: Surgery , Grippers
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Figures

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Fig. 1

3D CAD models of the molds used for fabricating the different soft chamber–gripper devices: (a) single-arm, (b) double-arm, and (c) hook gripper

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Fig. 2

(a) Side view of the handling tool inserted with a soft double-arm chamber–gripper device; (b) the soft pneumatic chamber–gripper; and (c) the traditional forceps

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Fig. 3

The experiment setup for measurement of the tensile forces in the nylon specimen during (a) transverse and (b) axial grip tests

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Fig. 4

Photographs of the chamber–gripper devices: (a) single-arm, (b) double-arm, and (c) hook gripper before (left) and upon (right) gripping the 1-mm diameter wire

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Fig. 5

Maximum tensile forces generated by the three different chamber–gripper devices and the two (Ecoflex-coated and uncoated) forceps during (a) transverse grip pull test and (b) axial grip pull test

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Fig. 6

Maximum grip compressive forces generated by the two different chamber–gripper devices and the two (Ecoflex-coated and uncoated) forceps in grip compressive test

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