2015-466 – Force-Sensing Motorized Micro-Forceps and Methods of Use in Microsurgery

This invention describes a specific embodiment for providing firm grasping capabilities to handheld devices, teleoperated and/or cooperatively controlled robots, enabling a new assistance method, and thus providing safer and easier tissue manipulation during microsurgery tasks. Microsurgery routinely requires the manipulation of extremely delicate tissues by various micron scale maneuvers and the application of very small forces. A prototypical procedure in retinal microsurgery is membrane peeling requiring the delamination of a very thin fibrous membrane adherent to the delicate retinal surface. A handheld micromanipulator, a teleoperated system or a cooperatively controlled robot can all assist such challenging procedures. However, in order to make this a viable option, first a proper micro-forceps is required as the end effector to such systems. This invention reveals the design of a novel force-sensing motorized micro-forceps and forms an integrated assistive system by combining it with an existing robotic device, a handheld micromanipulator. The resulting system (1) provides firm tissue grasping capabilities while preserving the state-of-the art tremor attenuation functionality of the robotic device, (2) accurately senses the tool-to-tissue forces, and (3) pulsates the tool tip at high frequency to provide ease in operations such as delaminating membranes, or cannulating small veins. The approach is applicable to other handheld micromanipulators as well as the teleoperated and cooperatively controlled devices in the field. Scott McEvoy smcevoy@andrew.cmu.edu 412-268-6053

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