This paper presents an optimal path planning method of steerable electrode arrays for robot-assisted cochlear implant surgery. In this paper, the authors present a novel design of steerable electrode arrays that can actively bend at the tip. An embedded strand in the electrode array provides an active steering degrees-of-freedom (DoF). This paper addresses the calibration of the steerable electrode array and the optimal path planning for inserting it into planar and three-dimensional scala tympani models. The goal of the path planning is to minimize the intracochlear forces that the electrode array applies on the walls of the scala tympani during insertion. This problem is solved by designing insertion path planning algorithms that provide best fit between the shape of the electrode array and the curved scala tympani during insertion. Optimality measures that account for shape discrepancies between the steerable electrode array and the scala tympani are used to solve for the optimal path planning of the robot. Different arrangements of DoF and insertion speed force feedback (ISFF) are simulated and experimentally validated in this paper. A quality of insertion metric describing the gap between the steerable electrode array and the scala tympani model is presented and its correspondence to the insertion force is shown. The results of using 1DoF, 2DoF, and 4DoF electrode array insertion setups are compared. The 1DoF insertion setup uses nonsteerable electrode arrays. The 2DoF insertion setup uses single axis insertion with steerable electrode arrays. The 4DoF insertion setup allows full control of the insertion depth and the approach angle of the electrode with respect to the cochlea while using steerable electrode arrays. It is shown that using steerable electrode arrays significantly reduces the maximal insertion force (59.6% or more) and effectively prevents buckling of the electrode array. The 4DoF insertion setup further reduces the maximal electrode insertion forces. The results of using ISFF for steerable electrodes show a slight decrease in the insertion forces in contrast to a slight increase for nonsteerable electrodes. These results show that further research is required in order to determine the optimal ISFF control law and its effectiveness in reducing electrode insertion forces.
Optimal Path Planning for Robotic Insertion of Steerable Electrode Arrays in Cochlear Implant Surgery
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Zhang, J., Roland, J. T., Jr., Manolidis, S., and Simaan, N. (December 18, 2008). "Optimal Path Planning for Robotic Insertion of Steerable Electrode Arrays in Cochlear Implant Surgery." ASME. J. Med. Devices. March 2009; 3(1): 011001. https://doi.org/10.1115/1.3039513
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