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Publication numberUS20100116080 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 12/615,897
Publication date13 May 2010
Filing date10 Nov 2009
Priority date11 Nov 2008
Also published asUS9687986, US9737199, US20100116081, US20170000315
Publication number12615897, 615897, US 2010/0116080 A1, US 2010/116080 A1, US 20100116080 A1, US 20100116080A1, US 2010116080 A1, US 2010116080A1, US-A1-20100116080, US-A1-2010116080, US2010/0116080A1, US2010/116080A1, US20100116080 A1, US20100116080A1, US2010116080 A1, US2010116080A1
InventorsChristoph Matthias Pistor, Joshua T. Oen
Original AssigneeIntuitive Surgical, Inc.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Robotic linkage
US 20100116080 A1
Abstract
Methods and apparatus for manufacturing and controlling an elongate robotic instrument, or robotic endoscope, are provided which may include any number of features. One feature is a robotic link that can be easily manufactured and can withstand the forces related to use within a robotic instrument. Another feature is a joint on the link that increases compressive strength and minimizes stress between links. Yet another feature is an elongate robotic instrument that is constructed from a single type of link.
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Claims(20)
1. A robotic link, comprising:
a link having an outer wall surface and an inner wall surface;
a pair of outer hinge portions on a first end of the link, each outer hinge portion having an inner bearing surface positioned between the inner wall surface and an outer ear; and
a pair of inner hinge portions on a second end of the link, each inner hinge portion having an outer bearing surface positioned between the outer wall surface and an inner ear.
2. The robotic link of claim 1 wherein the robotic link comprises a polymer.
3. The robotic link of claim 1 wherein each of the pair of outer hinge portions are diametrically opposed across the link.
4. The robotic link of claim 1 wherein each of the pair of inner hinge portions are diametrically opposed across the link.
5. The robotic link of claim 1 wherein an axis of rotation of the outer hinge portions are substantially perpendicular to an axis of rotation of the inner hinge portions.
6. The robotic link of claim 1 further comprising a guide block positioned along each inner and outer hinge portion.
7. The robotic link of claim 1 further comprising a tendon guide positioned integrally within the link along each inner and outer hinge portion.
8. The robotic link of claim 1 further comprising an integrated pulley and tendon guide positioned integrally within the link along each outer hinge portion.
9. The robotic link of claim 1 further comprising an integrated pulley and tendon guide positioned integrally within the link along each inner and outer hinge portion.
10. A flexible robotic instrument, comprising:
a first link and a second link each having an outer wall surface and an inner wall surface;
a pair of outer hinge portions disposed on a first end of each link, each outer hinge portion having an inner bearing surface positioned between the inner wall surface and an outer ear of each link; and
a pair of inner hinge portions on a second end of each link, each inner hinge portion having an outer bearing surface positioned between the outer wall surface and an inner ear of each link;
wherein the outer bearing surface of the first link is configured to slidably support the outer ear of the second link, and wherein the inner bearing surface of the second link is configured to slidably support the inner ear of the first link.
11. The flexible robotic instrument of claim 10 wherein the first and second links comprise a polymer.
12. The flexible robotic instrument of claim 10 wherein each of the pair of outer hinge portions are diametrically opposed across the first and second links.
13. The flexible robotic instrument of claim 10 wherein each of the pair of inner hinge portions are diametrically opposed across first and second links.
14. The flexible robotic instrument of claim 10 wherein the outer hinge portions are substantially perpendicular to the inner hinge portions.
15. The flexible robotic instrument of claim 10 further comprising a guide block positioned along each inner and outer hinge portion.
16. The flexible robotic instrument of claim 10 further comprising a tendon guide positioned integrally within the first and second links along each inner and outer hinge portion.
17. The flexible robotic instrument of claim 10 further comprising an integrated pulley and tendon guide positioned integrally within the first and second links along each outer hinge portion.
18. The flexible robotic instrument of claim 10 further comprising an integrated pulley and tendon guide positioned integrally within the first and second links along each inner and outer hinge portion.
19. The flexible robotic instrument of claim 10 wherein the first and second links can articulate up to approximately 30 degrees.
20. A method of manufacturing a robotic link comprising:
introducing a polymer into a mold; and
recovering from the mold a link having an outer wall surface and an inner wall surface, a pair of outer hinge portions on a first end of the link, each outer hinge portion having an inner bearing surface positioned between the inner wall surface and an outer ear, the link also having a pair of inner hinge portions on a second end of the link, each inner hinge portion having an outer bearing surface positioned between the outer wall surface and an inner ear.
Description
    CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
  • [0001]
    This application claims the benefit under 35 U.S.C. 119 of U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 61/113,453, filed Nov. 11, 2008, titled “ROBOTIC LINKAGE”, which is herein incorporated by reference in its entirety.
  • INCORPORATION BY REFERENCE
  • [0002]
    All publications, including patents and patent applications, mentioned in this specification are herein incorporated by reference in their entirety to the same extent as if each individual publication was specifically and individually indicated to be incorporated by reference.
  • FIELD OF INVENTION
  • [0003]
    The present invention relates generally to elongate robotic instruments and elongate surgical robots, such as robotic endoscopes. More particularly, it relates to methods and apparatuses for manufacturing and forming elongate robotic instruments.
  • BACKGROUND
  • [0004]
    The forms of elongate robotic instruments vary widely, but many elongate robotic instruments share the features of a mechanical, movable structure under some form of control. The mechanical structure or kinematic chain (analogous to the human skeleton) of an elongate robotic instrument can be formed from several links (analogous to human bones), actuators (analogous to human muscle) and joints between the links, permitting one or more degrees of freedom of motion of the links. A continuum or multi-segment elongate robotic instrument can be a continuously curving device, like an elephant trunk for example. An example of a continuum or multi-segment elongate robotic instrument is a snake-like endoscopic device.
  • [0005]
    Snake-like endoscopic devices can transfer forces from an actuator to particular sections of links in the snake-like device to effect articulation of that section or link. During articulation, these links are subjected to large stresses that can result in breakage or failure of the link and thus, failure of the endoscopic device. These failures typically occur at the weak point between links, such as at the joints.
  • [0006]
    A typical robotic link is made from a metal or alloy, such as aluminum or stainless steel. The links can be manufactured by laser cutting tubes, by laser sintering, by metal injection molding, or other processes as known in the art. Furthermore, a snake-like endoscopic device can often include several types of links, such as distal and proximal links for attachment to actuators, and passive links therebetween. However, manufacturing elongate robotic devices with these materials, as well as needing several different types of links for each device can be expensive and add to the cost of an elongate robotic instrument.
  • [0007]
    An elongate robotic instrument, and more particularly a link that is used to make up the elongate robotic instrument, is therefore needed that can be manufactured efficiently and inexpensively while still being able to withstand the stresses imposed upon it during normal use.
  • SUMMARY
  • [0008]
    In one embodiment, a robotic link is provided comprising a link having an outer wall surface and an inner wall surface, a pair of outer hinge portions on a first end of the link, each outer hinge portion having an inner bearing surface positioned between the inner wall surface and an outer ear, and a pair of inner hinge portions on a second end of the link, each inner hinge portion having an outer bearing surface positioned between the outer wall surface and an inner ear.
  • [0009]
    In some embodiments, the robotic link comprises a polymer. The robotic link can comprise PEEK, for example.
  • [0010]
    In one embodiment, each of the pair of outer hinge portions are diametrically opposed across the link. In another embodiment, each of the pair of inner hinge portions are diametrically opposed across the link. In some embodiments, an axis of rotation of the outer hinge portions are substantially perpendicular to an axis of rotation of the inner hinge portions.
  • [0011]
    The robotic link can further comprise a guide block positioned along each inner and outer hinge portion. In some embodiments, a tendon guide is positioned integrally within the link along each inner and outer hinge portion. The robotic link can also comprise an integrated pulley and tendon guide positioned integrally within the link along each outer hinge portion. In some embodiments, the robotic link comprises an integrated pulley and tendon guide positioned integrally within the link along each inner and outer hinge portion.
  • [0012]
    In one embodiment, the robotic link has an outer diameter of less than or equal to 0.75 inches.
  • [0013]
    A flexible robotic instrument is provided, comprising a first link and a second link each having an outer wall surface and an inner wall surface, a pair of outer hinge portions disposed on a first end of each link, each outer hinge portion having an inner bearing surface positioned between the inner wall surface and an outer ear of each link, and a pair of inner hinge portions on a second end of each link, each inner hinge portion having an outer bearing surface positioned between the outer wall surface and an inner ear of each link, wherein the outer bearing surface of the first link is configured to slidably support the outer ear of the second link, and wherein the inner bearing surface of the second link is configured to slidably support the inner ear of the first link.
  • [0014]
    In some embodiments, the first and second links comprise a polymer. The first and second links can comprise PEEK, for example.
  • [0015]
    In one embodiment, an interior volume of the instrument is sized to accommodate at least two working channels.
  • [0016]
    In some embodiments, each of the pair of outer hinge portions are diametrically opposed across the first and second links. Similarly, each of the pair of inner hinge portions can be diametrically opposed across first and second links. In one embodiment, the outer hinge portions are substantially perpendicular to the inner hinge portions.
  • [0017]
    The flexible robotic instrument can further comprise a guide block positioned along each inner and outer hinge portion. In some embodiments, a tendon guide is positioned integrally within the first and second links along each inner and outer hinge portion. In other embodiments, the flexible robotic instrument can comprise an integrated pulley and tendon guide positioned integrally within the first and second links along each inner and/or outer hinge portion.
  • [0018]
    In one embodiment, the flexible robotic instrument has an outer diameter of less than or equal to 0.75 inches.
  • [0019]
    The flexible robotic instrument can further comprise a plurality of actuation tendons.
  • [0020]
    In one embodiment, the first and second link of the flexible robotic instrument can articulate up to approximately 30 degrees.
  • [0021]
    A method of manufacturing a robotic link is provided, comprising introducing a polymer into a mold, and recovering from the mold a link having an outer wall surface and an inner wall surface, a pair of outer hinge portions on a first end of the link, each outer hinge portion having an inner bearing surface positioned between the inner wall surface and an outer ear, the link also having a pair of inner hinge portions on a second end of the link, each inner hinge portion having an outer bearing surface positioned between the outer wall surface and an inner ear.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • [0022]
    FIG. 1 is a cross sectional view of a robotic link.
  • [0023]
    FIG. 2 is an illustration of an elongate robotic instrument.
  • [0024]
    FIGS. 3 a-3 c are illustrations of a robotic link.
  • [0025]
    FIGS. 4 a-4 b are illustrations of a robotic link.
  • [0026]
    FIG. 5 is a schematic illustration of various robotic links used in an elongate robotic instrument.
  • [0027]
    FIGS. 6 a-6 b illustrate a double knee joint in a robotic link.
  • [0028]
    FIGS. 7 a-7 b are schematic illustrations of various robotic links used in an elongate robotic instrument.
  • [0029]
    FIG. 8 is a schematic illustration of various robotic links used in an elongate robotic instrument.
  • [0030]
    FIG. 9 shows a factor of safety for different link designs.
  • [0031]
    FIG. 10 shows a factor of safety for aluminum and victrex link designs.
  • [0032]
    FIG. 11 is a bar graph illustrating predicted link strength vs. testing.
  • [0033]
    FIG. 12 is an illustration of a pair of joined robotic links.
  • [0034]
    FIG. 13 is an illustration of a pair of joined robotic links.
  • [0035]
    FIG. 14 is a schematic illustration showing the effect of guide blocks within a link and vertebra diameter on dead space.
  • [0036]
    FIG. 15 is a cross sectional view of a link with a guide block.
  • [0037]
    FIG. 16 is a cross sectional view of a link without a guide block.
  • [0038]
    FIG. 17 illustrates the location of eyelets in a link without a guide block.
  • [0039]
    FIG. 18 illustrates the eyelet distance vs. articulation angle in an elongate robotic instrument.
  • [0040]
    FIGS. 19 a-19 b illustrates embodiments of a robotic link without a guide block.
  • [0041]
    FIG. 20 shows data from a shape sensor in a 120 degree sweep of an elongate robotic instrument in the x-plane.
  • [0042]
    FIG. 21 shows data from a shape sensor in a sweep of an elongate robotic instrument in the x, y, and z-planes.
  • [0043]
    FIG. 22 shows data from a shape sensor in a 120 degree sweep of an elongate robotic instrument.
  • [0044]
    FIG. 23 illustrates a robotic link without a guide block.
  • [0045]
    FIG. 24 illustrates a robotic link without a guide block and including a pulley feature.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION
  • [0046]
    Aspects of various embodiments include: Dimensioning and design of the part to make it mass-manufacturable by injection molding while still withstanding the high compressive loading that occurs inside robotic endoscopes; Double knee-joint to resolve compressive loading during articulation; integrated static pulley; Flat pulley surface to reduce friction; Integrated design of cable routing features that allows the same part to be used as a segment boundary and passive link.
  • [0047]
    The NOTES Vertebra development had the following design goals: Provide a max 150 degrees of articulation/seg; 4 active segments; Min 48 cm active length; 20 mm outside diameter (with skin); implement 2:1 purchase.
  • [0048]
    These goals resulted in the following design constraints and requirements: Provide room for two lumens; 16 coil tubes; Air/Water; Light bundle; Camera cable; Eight sense cable; Four ascension sensors; Maintain vertebrae OD of 0.75 inches; Use current alternating X-Y config; Use PE for actuation tendons; Capable to do straight or helix payload. See FIG. 1.
  • [0049]
    Based on this the following segment geometry was chosen: Links limited 30 degrees bend; X-Y pair length 1.12 inch; 150 degrees=5 paired links; Segment length=5.6 inches; Articulated length=5.6″/seg×4 seg=22.4″ (57 cm). See FIG. 2.
  • [0050]
    Termination of the actuation coil pipes and the implementation of the 2:1 purchase is shown in FIGS. 3 a-3 c.
  • [0051]
    Routing of the sense wire was chosen to be at an angle of 45 deg from the actuation cables. See FIGS. 4 a-4 b.
  • [0052]
    Major characteristics of this implementation of the NOTES (BETA PHASE) vertebra are: Machined aluminum (AL 7075 T6) links with nickel plating; Three different (Front, Middle, and Back) boundary links; Implements sense wire routing; PEEK inserts in all Cable eyelets; Glued two piece rivet to attach links; Decoupling of cables using swiveling guide block for out-of-plane cable routing. See FIG. 5.
  • [0053]
    After successful testing of the BETA PHASE vertebrae in a single link compression, in segment compression and in full scope assemblies the BOM COGS PHASE of NOTES vertebra was developed in which the focus was in cost reduction. The main emphasis was to reduce cost by using injection molding instead of machining. Injection molding requires the use of plastic resin, so the first exercise was to develop a design that would withstand the anticipated compressive load.
  • [0054]
    After estimating the expected compressive loading the following concept was presented: Load bearing knee joint. See FIGS. 6 a-6 b. To minimize stress, the knee joint should include the inner ear. Design provides a total of 4×0.00406 in2=0.0162 in2 projected area. Maximum compressive loading is therefore 3081.96 psi. The compressive strength of unreinforced PEEK is 20,000 psi and 30% carbon reinforced PEEK it is 29,000 psi. The safety factor to compressive failure of the ears is therefore 6.5 and 9.4 respectively.
  • [0055]
    The double knee-joint design was possible due to the fact that the link was now an injection molded component. In addition to molding the link components, cost savings was realized by integrating the features of the three different boundary links (front, middle, and back) into a single boundary link. The initial design for the molded passive link and boundary link of the BOM COGS PHASE in comparison to the links of the BETA PHASE is shown in FIG. 7 a-7 b.
  • [0056]
    The notion of the Front Middle and Back link for the segment boundary still exists in the BOM COGS design, however these links are now built up using the same base part and adding the features with the necessary inserts. An overview of the arrangement of inserts and link components for the BOM COGS master segment is shown in FIG. 8.
  • [0057]
    To ensure that this new design will fulfill the load bearing requirements of the NOTES scope application, several Finite Element studies were performed. The following figures show the results from these studies. First a comparison of the different designs is shown assuming all links are made from Aluminum. See FIG. 9. Second the factor of safety for the molded link design in Al is shown to the factor of safety of the molded link design in Victrex 90HMF40 is shown in FIG. 10.
  • [0058]
    An overview of the link strength prediction via FEA vs the actual results from Instron testing after the links had been molded is shown in FIG. 11.
  • [0059]
    After successful link compression, and full scope testing of the BOM COGS PHASE NOTES vertebra design, a new NOTES design phase was initiated. For this phase a different vertebra design that eliminates the need for a PE guide block has been suggested and is shown in FIGS. 12-13 in comparison to the previous design.
  • [0060]
    The main idea is to thread the out-of-plane PE tendons within the outer circumference of the vertebrae instead of bringing them into the inner lumen. This design would have the following advantages: Increase available lumen space (could be used for extra/larger payload, could lead to a total diameter reduction of the backbone); Allowing the helix to propagate during assembly more easily; Avoiding restriction of local slack of the helix during articulation; Simplifying assembly by giving assemblers access to all the eyelets from the outside of the backbone; Saving cost by reducing the assembly part count by two parts (guide block removed from BOM and long rivet replaced by existing short rivet).
  • [0061]
    The potential risks/disadvantages of such a design are: Control issues due to coupling between out-of-plane and in-plane cable motion; Increased articulation forces; Reduced strength of the vertebrae due to material removal at the ear base.
  • [0062]
    To show the effect of the no-guide block link design on the available dead space inside the endoscope, a packing study has been performed that shows that eliminating the guide blocks results in the possibility of reducing the vertebra diameter from 0.75″ to 0.7″ while conserving the same amount of dead space. See FIGS. 14-16.
  • [0063]
    Based on the link geometry a kinematic analysis was performed to determine the distance between the out-of-plane PE eyelets (EarEyelets) and the in-plane eyelets (ActEyelets).
  • [0064]
    FIGS. 17-18 show the geometry and the results of the analysis. The results show that the average value of the sum of the EarEyelet distance is 0.231192″ with a standard deviation of 0.002441″ over the complete range of articulation from −30 to +30 degrees. The average value of the sum of the ActEyelet distance is 0.494157″ with a standard deviation of 0.005252″.
  • [0065]
    Finite Element Analysis showed that the new design has a Factor of safety that is comparable with the one of the current design when loaded in compression at 50 lbs. See FIGS. 19 a-19 b.
  • [0066]
    Five no-guide-block design links were prototyped via PolyJet and built into a segment using standard segment boundary links. The segment was built using standard coil-pipes and 50 lbs Power Pro cable for actuation. The segment was outfitted with two ascension sensors, one in the proximal middle link and the other one in the distal middle link.
  • [0067]
    Initial tests showed that single line actuation of the segment results in a coupled articulation in the x and y-plane. By first applying tension to all cables and then applying slightly more tension in the desired actuation direction, while slightly releasing tension on the opposing cable, in-plane articulation was achieved.
  • [0068]
    FIGS. 20 through 22 and Table 1 show the Ascension sensor readings of the distal ascension sensor during such articulations. In this case, several sweeps from the −x hard stops to +x hard stops (total of 120 degree).
  • [0000]
    TABLE 1
    Stddev 1.963595 mm
    Average −275.013 mm
    Min −281.955 mm
    Max −269.677 mm
    Range −12.278 mm
  • [0069]
    The Ascension data shows a total range of about 12 mm in the z-coordinate. Some of this variation can be attributed to noise.
  • [0070]
    Due to the fact that the PolyJet prototype material has a relatively low modulus, the links started to bend (“potato chip”) when the tension in the cables was increased. Therefore, a second no-guide-block segment was built. For this second segment, injection molded passive links were modified with holes from next to the ears into the actuation cable slots. See FIG. 23.
  • [0071]
    Another no-guide-block link with straight slots to reduce cable friction has been designed and it is suggested to prototype this link in a stronger material to build up a third test segment.
  • [0072]
    Before testing of the design of FIG. 23 was completed, a new fully integrated design was suggested. This design was named Universal Link since it integrates all the features that are necessary for passive links and all the features that are needed in boundary links are combined into a single link. See FIG. 24. The main advantages of this design are: Lower tooling cost, only one link is needed therefore only one tool needs to be made; The pulley has been integrated and there is no bonding necessary of the pulley to the link; The pulley has a flat surface instead of a groove which substantially reduces friction (even in all the previous designs the pulley was implemented as a static pulley); The pulley diameter has been increased which again lowers cable friction; The pulley has been implemented in such a way that derailing of the cable is impossible, due to the fact that the cable takes the shortest distance between eyelets; Even under compression/slack of the cables, the cables do not derail since they are guided and aligned by the eyelets; All of the features have been implemented in such a way that the link can be manufactured by injection molding which reduces the manufacturing cost substantially.
  • [0073]
    As for additional details pertinent to the present invention, materials and manufacturing techniques may be employed as within the level of those with skill in the relevant art. The same may hold true with respect to method-based aspects of the invention in terms of additional acts commonly or logically employed. Also, it is contemplated that any optional feature of the inventive variations described may be set forth and claimed independently, or in combination with any one or more of the features described herein. Likewise, reference to a singular item, includes the possibility that there are plural of the same items present. More specifically, as used herein and in the appended claims, the singular forms “a,” “and,” “said,” and “the” include plural referents unless the context clearly dictates otherwise. It is further noted that the claims may be drafted to exclude any optional element. As such, this statement is intended to serve as antecedent basis for use of such exclusive terminology as “solely,” “only” and the like in connection with the recitation of claim elements, or use of a “negative” limitation. Unless defined otherwise herein, all technical and scientific terms used herein have the same meaning as commonly understood by one of ordinary skill in the art to which this invention belongs. The breadth of the present invention is not to be limited by the subject specification, but rather only by the plain meaning of the claim terms employed.
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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US8374722 *21 Jun 201012 Feb 2013Oliver Crispin Robotics LimitedRobotic arm
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US20110054687 *21 Jun 20103 Mar 2011Robert Oliver BuckinghamRobotic Arm
US20110152879 *22 Dec 200923 Jun 2011Williams Matthew RInstrument wrist with cycloidal surfaces
US20170144298 *4 Mar 201625 May 2017Tata Consultancy Services LimitedRobotic snake
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Classifications
U.S. Classification74/490.05, 264/334
International ClassificationB25J17/00, B25J18/06, B29C41/42
Cooperative ClassificationB25J18/06, A61B1/0055, A61B1/055, Y10T74/20329, A61B2034/301, A61B34/30, B25J9/0012
European ClassificationA61B1/005B6, B25J18/06, B25J9/00H1
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
9 Dec 2009ASAssignment
Owner name: INTUITIVE SURGICAL, INC.,CALIFORNIA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:PISTOR, CHRISTOPH MATTHIAS;OEN, JOSHUA T.;REEL/FRAME:023630/0610
Effective date: 20091119
27 Jun 2017ASAssignment
Owner name: INTUITIVE SURGICAL OPERATIONS, INC., CALIFORNIA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:INTUITIVE SURGICAL, INC.;REEL/FRAME:042831/0209
Effective date: 20100219