Haptically Enhanced Control of Minimally Invasive Tools

Award Information
Department of Health and Human Services
Award Year:
Phase I
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
Infoscitex Corporation
Infoscitex Corporation, 303 Bear Hill Rd, Waltham, MA, 02451
Hubzone Owned:
Minority Owned:
Woman Owned:
Principal Investigator:
(781) 259-4022
Business Contact:
(781) 890-1338
Research Institution:
DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): A device is proposed to enhance a surgeon's awareness of loads present at their tool tips during minimally invasive surgery (MIS). This work is motivated by the need within the laparoscopic surgical community to continue improvement of MIS techniques. While skilled surgeons are able to sufficiently compensate, they continue to express the need for better haptic feedback. Currently, they must rely heavily on visual cues in the absence of proper tip load perception. The concept centers on using off-the-shelf tools and trocars in an active device capable of sensing confounding loads on the tool from both the trocar port and the patient's body. Active counterbalancing of these relatively large forces will unmask the relatively smaller forces present at the surgical site, improving perception and control during surgery. A useful analogy can be found in noise-canceling headphones. These devices employ sensors to detect unwanted noise and transmit cancellation signals which are exactly opposite in phase, thereby providing a more pure, uncluttered sound. Initially, the project will focus on just one degree of freedom (DOF), namely the axial in/out dimension with respect to the tool. As proof of feasibility, construction of a prototype device, verification of system performance and effectiveness, and assessment of a 4DOF design will be accomplished during Phase I. Construction and testing of the 4DOF final product will occur in Phase II. The device described here can yield improved performance in existing surgeries and pave the way for expansion of minimally invasive techniques into new areas. The device will have commercial potential as a single, stand-alone alternative to robotics that can improve results and lessen the need to purchase new tools, rebuild operating rooms, or alter tried and true surgical methods. The team of engineers, clinicians, and scientists at Foster-Miller, Lahey Clinic, and Emory University Hospital is uniquely qualified to successfully create the system for they have previously built the basic technologies required, refined MIS technologies in the OR, and delineated human surgical performance using MIS technologies.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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