This paper presents a novel mechanism concept of laparoscope holders used for minimally invasive surgery (MIS). The mechanism is made of a parallelogram linkage and a parallel mechanism, which, respectively, serve as a robotic positioning arm and an orientating wrist of the holder. Due to its special geometry, the mechanism possesses several interesting kinematic properties. First, the laparoscope, which is held by the end-effector, can illustrate a remote center-of-motion (RCM) kinematics at the surgical incision point. Second, the position of the RCM point is solely defined by the parallelogram, whereas the orientation and insertion length of the laparoscope are governed by the parallel mechanism. Such an arrangement suggests a decoupled positioning and orientating manipulation for the holder, which is clinically helpful in laparoscopic MIS. Third, the overall mechanism including the parallelogram linkage and the parallel mechanism can be statically balanced at any configuration within the workspaces by using common linear springs. In other words, no electrical actuation or mechanical locks are required for making the laparoscope rest at any position and orientation. The design procedure for static balancing is detailed in the paper, and the theoretical formulation of the statically balanced mechanism is verified by a numerical example and computer simulation. The computer-aided design (CAD) model of the holder is constructed for evaluating its workspace and a physical prototype using commercial springs is built up and tested. It shows that the prototype that uses nonideal (commercial) springs can be statically balanced within the overall workspace, since the shortage/overshoot of the potential energy in the positioning mechanism and orientating mechanism, which are theoretically 6.8% and 5.1% of their total potential energies in maximum, are fully compensated by the friction effect.

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