PneuStep - MRI-safe motor makes robotic biopsies possible

Armen Hareyan's picture
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Robotic Surgery

Engineers at the Johns Hopkins Urology Robotics Lab report the invention of a motor without metal or electricity that can safely power remote-controlled robotic medical devices used for cancer biopsies and therapies guided by magnetic resonance imaging. The motor that drives the devices can be so precisely controlled by computer that movements are steadier and more precise than a human hand.

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"Lots of biopsies on organs such as the prostate are currently performed blind because the tumors are typically invisible to the imaging tools commonly used," says Dan Stoianovici, Ph.D., an associate professor of urology at Johns Hopkins and director of the robotics lab. "Our new MRI-safe motor and robot can target the tumors. This should increase accuracy in locating and collecting tissue samples, reduce diagnostic errors and also improve therapy."

A description of the new motor, made entirely out of plastics, ceramics and rubber, and driven by light and air, was published in the February issue of the IEEE/ASME Transactions on Mechanotronics.

The challenge for his engineering team was to overcome MRI

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