Engineers bring surgical robots down to microscale size

Tuesday, August 25, 2020 - 09:00 in Physics & Chemistry

In a collaboration between Harvard and Sony, engineers have brought surgical robotics down to the microscale by creating a new, origami-inspired miniature manipulator to improve precision and control. The robotic systems that currently assist surgeons in laparoscopic surgery can often take up an entire room, their tools  larger than the delicate tissues and structures on which they operate. Wyss Associate Faculty member Robert Wood and robotics engineer Hiroyuki Suzuki of Sony Corp. have designed the “mini-RCM,” a robot the size of a tennis ball, weighing about as much as a penny, and  successfully performing a difficult mock surgical task, as described in a recent issue of Nature Machine Intelligence. A mini-robot for micro tasks To create their miniature surgical robot, Suzuki and Wood turned to the Pop-Up MEMS manufacturing technique developed in Wood’s lab, in which materials are deposited on top of each other in layers that are bonded together, then laser-cut in a...

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