Ionic Polymer Metal Composites (IPMCs): Smart Multi-Functional Materials and Artificial Muscles, Volume 2
Chapter 22: Ionic Polymer Metal Composites as Dexterous Manipulators and Haptic Feedback/Tactile Sensors for Minimally Invasive Robotic Surgery
Published:19 Nov 2015
Mohsen Shahinpoor, 2015. "Ionic Polymer Metal Composites as Dexterous Manipulators and Haptic Feedback/Tactile Sensors for Minimally Invasive Robotic Surgery", Ionic Polymer Metal Composites (IPMCs): Smart Multi-Functional Materials and Artificial Muscles, Volume 2, Mohsen Shahinpoor, Mohsen Shahinpoor
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Surgeons’ human-like dexterity during robotic surgery depends heavily on receiving haptic feedback on the kinesthetics and softness of the organs and tissues they are grasping, manipulating, cutting, suturing, cauterizing, freezing and performing ultrasonic fragmentation on, such as in phacoemulsification of a cataract lens in ophthalmic cataract micro-surgery. This type of haptic feedback is currently missing in robotic surgery and only visual feedback is available on current robotic surgery systems. This chapter aims to advance robotic surgery by integrating specially configured ionic polymer metal composite (IPMC) soft biomimetic sensors and actuators with surgical robotic end-effectors and to develop efficient routines for kinesthetic and softness inquiry of organs and tissues during robotic surgery. IPMCs as smart biomimetic electroactive polymers are ideal for such surgical applications because: they are excellent multi-modal sensors, producing a multi-millivolt (2–4 mV) output signal for smaller samples suitable for robotic surgery; they work well in the wet surgical environments of the patients’ body; and yet they can be actuated simultaneously and spontaneously by a small voltage (4–6 V) for reconfiguration of IPMC sensors or normal grasping and dexterous manipulation of bodily organs and tissues. IPMCs thus are excellent as actuators capable of receiving haptic feedback during actuation because they can actuate and then sense, or vice versa, requiring only a small voltage (bio-friendly) and generating large output sensing signals. The applications of IPMCs as flexible actuators and sensors to provide haptic feedback and tactile sensing in robotic surgery are described in this chapter.