This paper presents a method for fabricating millimeter-scale robotic components for minimally invasive surgery. Photolithographic patterning is used to create a framework of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) that can be infiltrated with a variety of materials, depending on the desired material properties. For the examples shown in this paper, amorphous carbon is used as the infiltration material. The planar frameworks are then stacked to create the 3D device. The detail and precision are affected by large changes in cross section in the direction of stacking. Methods for improving the definition of the 3D object due to changing cross section are discussed. The process is demonstrated in a two-degree-of-freedom (2DOF) wrist mechanism and a 2DOF surgical gripping mechanism, which have the potential of decreasing the size of future minimally invasive surgical instruments.
Millimeter-Scale Robotic Mechanisms Using Carbon Nanotube Composite Structures
Manuscript received August 21, 2014; final manuscript received December 15, 2014; published online February 27, 2015. Assoc. Editor: Aaron M. Dollar.
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Tanner, J. D., Grames, C., Jensen, B. D., Magleby, S. P., and Howell, L. L. (May 1, 2015). "Millimeter-Scale Robotic Mechanisms Using Carbon Nanotube Composite Structures." ASME. J. Mechanisms Robotics. May 2015; 7(2): 021001. https://doi.org/10.1115/1.4029436
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