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Title: A temperature-dependent, variable-stiffness endoscopic robotic manipulator with active heating and cooling
Authors: Le, Huu Minh
Phan, Phuoc Thien
Cao, Lin
Liu, Jiajun
Phee, Soo Jay
Keywords: Engineering::Mechanical engineering::Robots
Issue Date: 2020
Source: Le, H. M., Phan, P. T., Cao, L., Liu, J., & Phee, S. J. (2020). A temperature-dependent, variable-stiffness endoscopic robotic manipulator with active heating and cooling. Annals of Biomedical Engineering, in press. doi:10.1007/s10439-020-02495-z
Journal: Annals of Biomedical Engineering
Abstract: In flexible endoscopy, the endoscope needs to be sufficiently flexible to go through the tortuous paths inside the human body and meanwhile be stiff enough to withstand external payloads without unwanted tip bending during operation. Thus, an endoscope whose stiffness can be adjusted on command is needed. This paper presents a novel variable-stiffness manipulator. The manipulator (Ø15 mm) has embedded thermoplastic tubes whose stiffness is tunable through temperature. Temperature is adjusted through joule heat generated by the electrical current supplied to the stainless steel coils and an active air-cooling mechanism. Tests and modeling were conducted to characterize the performance of the design. The manipulator has a high stiffness-changing ratio (22) between rigid and flexible states while that of its commercial Olympus counterpart is only 1.59. The active cooling time is 11.9 s while that of passive ambient cooling is 100.3 s. The thermal insulation layer (Aerogel) keeps the temperature of the outer surface within the safe range (below 41 °C). The models can describe the heating and cooling processes with root mean square errors ranging from 0.6 to 1.3 °C. The results confirm the feasibility of a variable-stiffness endoscopic manipulator with high stiffness-changing ratio, fast mode-switching, and safe thermal insulation.
ISSN: 0090-6964
DOI: 10.1007/s10439-020-02495-z
Schools: School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering 
Research Centres: Robotics Research Centre 
Rights: © 2020 Biomedical Engineering Society. All rights reserved. This paper was published in Annals of Biomedical Engineering and is made available with permission of Biomedical Engineering Society.
Fulltext Permission: open
Fulltext Availability: With Fulltext
Appears in Collections:MAE Journal Articles

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