With the proliferation of successful minimally invasive surgical techniques, comes the challenge of shrinking the size of surgical instruments further to facilitate use in applications such as neurosurgery, pediatric surgery, and needle procedures. This paper introduces laser machined, multi-degree-of-freedom (DOF) hinge joints embedded on tubes, as a possible means to realize such miniature instruments without the need for any assembly. A method to design such a joint for an estimated range of motion was explored. The effects of design and machining parameters on the mechanical interference, range of motion, and joint dislocation were analyzed. The extent of interference between the moving parts of the joint can be used to predict the range of motion of the joint for rigid tubes and future design optimization. The total usable workspace was also estimated using kinematic principles for a joint in series and for two sets of orthogonal joints. Our work can open up avenues to a new class of miniature robotic medical devices with hinge joints and a usable channel for drug delivery.

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