Israeli-developed flexible needle maneuvers around human body

Technion researchers have developed miniature robot that enables needles to go around obstacles in the human body.

Researchers from the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering at the Technion have developed a miniature robot that drives a flexible needle in the human body. This innovative development will enable the surgeon to go around obstacles in the needle’s path toward its objective in the body.

“We are talking about driving a flexible needle,” explains doctoral student Daniel Glozman, who developed the steering algorithm under the guidance of Prof. Moshe Shoham. “For example, when a physician wants to take a biopsy, he sticks the needle into the body and extracts the biopsy. But the skin, the muscle and the patient himself move during the process and therefore it is difficult to get the needle exactly to the target. There may also be blood vessels in the way that have to be maneuvered around. Our development will solve these problems.”

Shoham added, “Medicine is going to be much more focused and the demand to reach the target exactly will only increase. Therefore, we developed this robot that works according to a mathematical model, using sensors. The robot holds and moves the base of the needle causes the needle to wind around the obstacle and reach the target determined by the physician.”

Shoham previously developed a robot that performs back surgery. The SpineAssist system, which has received US FDA and European Union approval, gives surgeons improved accuracy during complicated back surgery while minimizing risks, such as nerve damage.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - - on Thursday, April 21, 2005

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