Natural orifice transluminal endoscopic surgery (NOTES) is a novel surgical technique which uses endoscopic tools to perform mini invasive abdominal operations through natural orifices. The main limitation for a secure use of this technique is the lack of a proper surgical device, since it is still performed by non rigid endoscopes designed for diagnostic applications. Robot Assisted Surgery is the ideal solution to perform this kind of surgical operations. This research project is a preliminary study for the design of an endoscope, with variable stiffness in effort to provide the surgeons with a device which meets specific clinical requirements. The body is composed of a series of robotic modules connected by joints capable of two different movements: an axial rotation and a longitudinal bending. The movements are servo commanded and carried out by two brushless DC electric motors and an encoder. A force sensor is mounted on each module in order to provide a haptic feedback to the surgeon. The end point of the robot is equipped with a high definition camera which is able to perform zoom, autofocus and image stabilization. Illumination is provided by a power led system. A CAN bus ensures the communication between the modules, the camera and the haptic interface.

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