Magnetic Soft Catheters (MSCs) are capable of miniaturization due to the use of an external magnetic field for actuation. Through careful design of the magnetic elements within the MSC and the external magnetic field, the shape along the full length of the catheter can be precisely controlled. However, modeling of the magnetic-soft material is challenging due to the complex relationship between magnetic and elastic stresses within the material. Approaches based on traditional Finite Element Methods (FEM) lead to high computation time and rely on proprietary implementations. In this work, we showcase the use of our recently presented open-source simulation framework based on the Material Point Method (MPM) for the computational design of magnetic soft catheters to realize arbitrary shapes in 3D, and to facilitate follow-the-leader shape-forming insertion.
Localization of magnetically actuated medical robots is essential for accurate actuation, closed loop control and delivery of functionality. Despite extensive progress in the use of magnetic field and inertial measurements for pose estimation, these have been either under single external permanent magnet actuation or coil systems. With the advent of new magnetic actuation systems comprised of multiple external permanent magnets for increased control and manipulability, new localization techniques are necessary to account for and leverage the additional magnetic field sources. In this letter, we introduce a novel magnetic localization technique in the Special Euclidean Group SE(3) for multiple external permanent magnetic field actuation and control systems. The method relies on a milli-meter scale three-dimensional accelerometer and a three-dimensional magnetic field sensor and is able to estimate the full 6 degree-of-freedom pose without any prior pose information. We demonstrated the localization system with two external permanent magnets and achieved localization errors of 8.5 ? 2.4 mm in position norm and 3.7 ? 3.6? in orientation, across a cubic workspace with 20 cm length.
The ability to have multiple magnetic robots operate independently in the same workspace would increase the clinical potential of these systems allowing collaborative operation. In this work, we investigate the feasibility of actuating two magnetic robots operating within the same workspace using external permanent magnets. Unlike actuation systems based on pairs of electromagnetic coils, the use of multiple permanent magnets comes with the advantage of a large workspace which better suits the clinical setting. In this work, we present an optimization routine capable of generating the required poses for the external magnets in order to control the position and orientation of two magnetic robots. We show that at a distance of 15cm, minimal coupling between the magnetic robots can be achieved (3.9\% crosstalk) each embedded with 5mm diameter, 5mm length NdFeB magnets. At smaller distances, we observe that the ability to independently control the robot torques decreases, but forces can still achieve independent control even with alignment of the robots. We test our developed control system in a simulation of two magnetic robots following pre-planned trajectories in close proximity (60 mm) showing a mean positional error of 8.7 mm and mean angular error of 16.7 degrees.
Robotic-assisted surgery is now well-established in clinical practice and has become the gold standard clinical treatment option for several clinical indications. The field of robotic-assisted surgery is expected to grow substantially in the next decade with a range of new robotic devices emerging to address unmet clinical needs across different specialities. A vibrant surgical robotics research community is pivotal for conceptualizing such new systems as well as for developing and training the engineers and scientists to translate them into practice. The da Vinci Research Kit (dVRK), an academic and industry collaborative effort to re-purpose decommissioned da Vinci surgical systems (Intuitive Surgical Inc, CA, USA) as a research platform for surgical robotics research, has been a key initiative for addressing a barrier to entry for new research groups in surgical robotics. In this paper, we present an extensive review of the publications that have been facilitated by the dVRK over the past decade. We classify research efforts into different categories and outline some of the major challenges and needs for the robotics community to maintain this initiative and build upon it.