Postgraduate student’s winning project: A SMA-Driven MRI Compatible Neurosurgical Robot
8 Aug, 2022

The 8th Hong Kong University Student Innovation and Entrepreneurship Competition

Awardee: Mr. DING Qing Peng (Ph.D., MAE)

Award: Second Prize

Supervisor: Prof. CHENG Shing Shin

Project Description:

Laser-induced thermal therapy (LITT) of tumor under magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) guidance has become the preferred alternative to surgical retraction due to reduced invasiveness and shortened patient recovery time. A MRI conditional neurosurgical robot that integrates a flexible end effector and two modular shape memory alloy (SMA) actuators with real-time 3D motion is developed for laser ablation of brain tumor. The robot is fabricated using materials and actuators that are proven to be conditional with the restrictive MR environment. The innovativeness of this project includes:

(a) Development of a 2-degree of freedom (DoF), 3D printed flexible robotic end effector of 5 mm diameter with 3D workspace as manipulator of the ablation fiber.

(b) Development of high-performance MRI conditional modular SMA actuator with rapid heating and forced cooling capability for real-time operating capability. It also enables the creation of the critical sterile interface between the end effector and the actuation module.

(c) Development of dedicated mechatronics hardware and control software for the robotic system to accommodate the strong magnetic field in the scanner room.

(d) Development of a model predictive control-integrated control framework to improve the robot motion accuracy at high amplitude and high bandwidth tracking.

The robot prototype, its workspace and results of shape tracking in 3D space.

Setup of the robotic system in the MRI room and MR images of the end effector.

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