A new, compact 2 degree-of-freedom wrist mechanism suitable for robotically controlled surgical operations is presented. Current commercially available robotically controlled instruments achieve high dexterity defined by three degrees of freedom and relatively confined swept volume at just under 1 cm in diameter. Current smaller diameter instruments result in high part count and large swept volumes (less dexterity). A mesoscale rolling contact wrist mechanism is proposed as an alternative. The crossed cylinders wrist integrates two half-cylinders whose longitudinal axes are offset by 90°. The surfaces of the half cylinders have been populated with gearing that enables the two halves to roll in two directions while preventing slip. The manufacturing of the parts is demonstrated as feasible by a the layered assembly of Carbon Nanotube (CNT) structures, which can produce parts that are difficult to replicate with traditional manufacturing methods. The resulting wrist has only 2 parts and a small swept volume.

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