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15.04.2019 | Original Article Open Access

Design optimization of a contact-aided continuum robot for endobronchial interventions based on anatomical constraints

International Journal of Computer Assisted Radiology and Surgery
Laura Ros-Freixedes, Anzhu Gao, Ning Liu, Mali Shen, Guang-Zhong Yang
Wichtige Hinweise

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The online version of this article (https://​doi.​org/​10.​1007/​s11548-019-01972-8) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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A laser-profiled continuum robot (CR) with a series of interlocking joints has been developed in our center to reach deeper areas of the airways. However, it deflects with constant curvature, which thus increases the difficulty of entering specific bronchi without relying on the tissue reaction forces. This paper aims to propose an optimization framework to find the best design parameters for nonconstant curvature CRs to reach distal targets while attempting to avoid the collision with the surrounding tissue.


First, the contact-aided compliant mechanisms (CCMs) are integrated with the continuum robot to achieve the nonconstant curvature. Second, forward kinematics considering CCMs is built. Third, inverse kinematics is implemented to steer the robot tip toward the desired targets within the confined anatomy. Finally, an optimization framework is proposed to find the best robot design to reach the target with the least collision to the bronchi walls.


Experiments are carried out to verify the feasibility of CCMs to enable the nonconstant curvature deflection, and simulations demonstrate a lower cost function value to reach a target for the nonconstant curvature optimized design with respect to the standard constant curvature robot (0.11 vs. 2.66). In addition, the higher capacity of the optimized design to complete the task is validated by interventional experiments using fluoroscopy.


Results demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed framework to find an optimized CR with nonconstant curvature to perform safer interventions to reach distal targets.

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