We use cookies to understand how you use our site and to improve your experience. This includes personalizing content and advertising. To learn more, click here. By continuing to use our site, you accept our use of cookies. Cookie Policy.

Features Partner Sites Information LinkXpress
Sign In
Advertise with Us
Sekisui Diagnostics UK Ltd.

Download Mobile App

Future Muscle-Powered Surgical Robots Could Perform Minimally Invasive Procedures inside Body

By HospiMedica International staff writers
Posted on 09 Apr 2024
Print article
Image: The new spring shown in Petri dish maximizes the work of natural muscles (Photo courtesy of MIT)
Image: The new spring shown in Petri dish maximizes the work of natural muscles (Photo courtesy of MIT)

Muscles, as nature's perfect actuators, outperform most synthetic counterparts in power and precision relative to their size, possessing the unique ability to repair and strengthen through exercise. This remarkable efficiency has inspired engineers to harness natural muscles to power robots with natural muscles, resulting in "biohybrid" robots capable of performing actions such as walking, swimming, pumping, and gripping through muscle-based actuators - devices that turn energy into motion. However, the diversity in robot designs has created the need for a universal approach to optimize muscle utilization across various robot models. Now, engineers have developed a spring-like device, termed a "flexure," which serves as a basic skeleton-like module suitable for almost any muscle-driven robot.

The new spring, or “flexure,” has been designed by engineers at MIT (Cambridge, MA, USA) to extract maximum work out of any attached muscle tissues. Similar to a perfectly weighted leg press machine, this device significantly enhances the amount of movement naturally produced by a muscle. Upon fitting a ring of muscle tissue onto the device, similar to a rubber band being stretched around two posts, they found that the muscle pulled on the spring, reliably and repeatedly, and stretched it five times more, in comparison with other earlier device designs. The device was also found to accurately measure muscle performance and endurance.

After experimenting with different muscle contraction frequencies (such as stimulating the bands to contract once versus four times per second), they found that the muscles became tired at higher frequencies and failed to generate as much pull. The engineers consider the flexure design as a new building block that can be combined with other flexures to build artificial skeletons of any configuration. These skeletons can then be fitted with muscle tissues to power their movements. The team is currently exploring ways to adapt and combine flexures to develop precise, articulated, and dependable robots powered by natural muscles.

“An example of a robot we are trying to build in the future is a surgical robot that can perform minimally invasive procedures inside the body,” said MIT’s Ritu Raman. “Technically, muscles can power robots of any size, but we are particularly excited in making small robots, as this is where biological actuators excel in terms of strength, efficiency, and adaptability.”

Related Links:

Gold Member
SARS‑CoV‑2/Flu A/Flu B/RSV Sample-To-Answer Test
SARS‑CoV‑2/Flu A/Flu B/RSV Cartridge (CE-IVD)
Gold Member
POC Blood Gas Analyzer
Stat Profile Prime Plus
Silver Member
Wireless Mobile ECG Recorder
Compact C-Arm
Arcovis DRF-C S21

Print article


Critical Care

view channel
Image: The largest scale analysis compared longer-term percutaneous devices for aortic valve replacement versus surgery (Photo courtesy of Adobe Stock)

Transcatheter Valve Replacement Outcomes Similar To Surgery, Finds Study

A new study has shown that a minimally invasive procedure for replacing the aortic valve in the heart—known as transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR)—is on par with the more traditional surgical... Read more

Patient Care

view channel
Image: The portable, handheld BeamClean technology inactivates pathogens on commonly touched surfaces in seconds (Photo courtesy of Freestyle Partners)

First-Of-Its-Kind Portable Germicidal Light Technology Disinfects High-Touch Clinical Surfaces in Seconds

Reducing healthcare-acquired infections (HAIs) remains a pressing issue within global healthcare systems. In the United States alone, 1.7 million patients contract HAIs annually, leading to approximately... Read more

Health IT

view channel
Image: First ever institution-specific model provides significant performance advantage over current population-derived models (Photo courtesy of Mount Sinai)

Machine Learning Model Improves Mortality Risk Prediction for Cardiac Surgery Patients

Machine learning algorithms have been deployed to create predictive models in various medical fields, with some demonstrating improved outcomes compared to their standard-of-care counterparts.... Read more

Point of Care

view channel
Image: The Quantra Hemostasis System has received US FDA special 510(k) clearance for use with its Quantra QStat Cartridge (Photo courtesy of HemoSonics)

Critical Bleeding Management System to Help Hospitals Further Standardize Viscoelastic Testing

Surgical procedures are often accompanied by significant blood loss and the subsequent high likelihood of the need for allogeneic blood transfusions. These transfusions, while critical, are linked to various... Read more
Copyright © 2000-2024 Globetech Media. All rights reserved.