Mechanical engineers who used origami rules to shrink and compress equipment on spaceflight are now using their knowledge to build small robotic surgical instruments. They see a future in which surgical incisions become so small that they do not require stitches and close on their own.
U.S. researchers present some of their origami-inspired technologies at Intuitive Surgical. The company has developed the Da Vinci surgical robot, which helps surgeons perform operations such as removing the prostate with a few small incisions.
“Our goal is to shrink the gaps, and in this way, we are building a tool that can enter through small gaps and perform surgeries,” the researchers said.
Surgical instruments have reached their peak in this industry and cannot be made smaller with the same old designs.
The team developed a method that does not require articulated joints and uses origami toes to make movements possible.
One of the things they are working on. They are robotic pliers that can be inserted through a 3 mm hole. They are about the diameter of a mobile phone or computer charger.
Need to get bigger in vivo
The team is also working on a concept called ” de-blind ” that enters as a smooth surface through a small slit and then into two round surfaces that can slide on top of each other – like moving two beads on one. Other in the spine.
The researchers wrote their idea for De Core and how it works in an article published in Mechanism and Machine Theory. This paper describes the physical model that showed the map and the space required in the flat and open positions.
The researchers said that these are the same methods they used to make spacecraft for NASA and are using them for medical devices. They pointed out the similarities in the criteria:
Those who build spacecraft want their products to be small and compact, because in a spacecraft, the environment is highly optimal, but in space, they want the same large products, such as solar panels or antennas.
This, they added, is the same concept they apply to surgical instruments: we want objects to shrink to pass through the gap, but when they enter the body, we want to be much larger.
“The method they are developing – derived from origami – is very useful in shrinking and simplifying devices,” the researchers said.
Small instruments will enable a new range of surgeries. Our hope is to reach the day when we can act on small components of the nerves.