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Endoscope Shaft-Rigidity Control Mechanism: “FORGUIDE”

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4 Author(s)
Loeve, A.J. ; Dept. of Biomech. Eng., Delft Univ. of Technol., Delft, Netherlands ; Plettenburg, D.H. ; Breedveld, P. ; Dankelman, J.

Recent developments in flexible endoscopy and other fields of medical technology have raised the need for compact slender shafts that can be made rigid and compliant at will. A novel compact mechanism, named FORGUIDE, with this functionality was developed. The FORGUIDE shaft rigidifies due to friction between a ring of cables situated between a spring and an inflated tube. A mathematical model for the FORGUIDE mechanism working principle was made and used to obtain understanding of this mechanism, predict the maximum rigidity of a FORGUIDE shaft design, and tune its design variables. The mathematical model gave suggestions for significant performance improvement by fine-tuning the design. A prototype FORGUIDE shaft was built and put to a series of bench tests. These tests showed that the FORGUIDE mechanism provides a reliable and simple way to control the rigidity of a flexible shaft.

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Biomedical Engineering, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:59 ,  Issue: 2 )