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In this paper, we present the design of a novel 5-DOF manipulator for percutaneous needle insertion. The requirements of the manipulator have been instigated by a relatively common medical procedure: low-dose rate brachytherapy of the prostate. The manipulator can perform orientation, insertion, and rotation of the needle and linear motion of the stylet to drop radioactive seeds contained in a thin hollow needle (cannula) at targeted locations. The key features of the manipulator such as backdrivable joints, a fault-tolerant needle driver, stationary actuators, and redundant sensors enhance overall safety and reliability of the mechanism, a critical requirement for surgical manipulators. The manipulator is an integral part of a system utilizing a mechanically rotated side-firing transducer to create 3-D ultrasound images of the organ and utilizing 3-D SLICER software to visualize those images. Experimental results in agar phantoms prove that the manipulator is capable of positioning the needle tip at the targeted locations with good accuracy.