MICA - Actuated and sensorized surgical instruments

Sensor integrated 3-DoF end-effector

MICA tool interface
MIRO and MICA: for highly integrated, light-weight surgical applications

Please cite DLR as the source for the images. "Images: DLR"



Please cite DLR as the source for the images. "Images: DLR"

The DLR MICA is the second generation of versatile instruments for minimally invasive surgery developed at the Institute of Robotics and Mechatronics, designed as an interventive instrument coupled to the MIRO arm for minimally invasive procedures.
MICA is a 3 degrees of freedom (DoFs) robot, which – in the MiroSurge scenario – is combined with the 7-DoF robot MIRO. Therewith, MICA adds the joints 8, 9 and 10 to the telemanipulator. It consists of a drive unit, a tool interface and the task specific tool with its shaft and end-effector.

Various tools targeted at different surgical applications will be used with the MICA drive unit, differing in the number of DoFs, functionality of the end effector, and range of motion. Propulsion for the tool is provided by means of 3 linear motions transmitted through a tool interface between drive unit and tool. The tool interface provides suitable propulsion scaling for the tool as well as standardized digital communication with any sensors located in the tool, such as the DLR force/torque sensor.
In the present configuration the tool is comprised of a 2 DoF wrist, gripper and 7 DoF force/torque sensor, providing dexterous manipulation and haptic feedback from the operation site. However, tools can range from grippers, scissors to needle holders in minimally invasive surgery.


The versatile design approach followed for the MIRO and conformance to the MiroSurge setup outline a number of requirements for the instrument design:

  • Clear separation between the robotic platform and the instrument. The MIRO robot provides a single mechatronic interface to any instrument consisting of a mechanical attachment as well as an electrical power connection and a high-speed digital communication interface. Still, quick instrument changes have to be possible during surgical procedures. This requires the MICA drive unit to contain all necessary motors, power, communication, motor control, and sensor signal conditioning electronics.
  • Lightweight design. Added weight at the TCP will adversely affect the dynamic performance of the robotic arm.
  • Small size of the drive unit, particularly in diameter. Multiple robotic arms will be working in close proximity around the operating table. Interference and collisions of instruments have to be avoided.



Parameter Value Comment
Number of joints 3 2 (wrist) + 1 (functional end)
Mass 850 g Drive unit, tool interface and tool
Size of drive unit 220(l) x 60(d) mm Drive unit and tool inerface
Control cycle 3 kHz Overall, torque control 100 kHz
Tool diameter 10 mm 
Joint range of motion +/- 40° Wrist DoF
Joint actuation 7.5 Hz
Force/Torque Sensor 6+1 DoF  Manipulation forces at tooltip
Force range/resolution 10 N / 0.015 N
Moment range/resolution 15 Ncm / 6 Nmm


For condensed information see our MICA handout.


  • MiroSurge, funded by the Bayerische Forschungstiftung
  • SFB 453, Collaborative Research Centre (SFB) 453 of the German Research Foundation (DFG)


S. Thielmann, U. Seibold, R. Haslinger, G. Passig, T. Bahls, S. Jörg, M. Nickl, A. Nothhelfer, U. Hagn and G. Hirzinger. „MICA - A new generation of versatile instruments in robotic surgery” IROS 2010, Taipei, Taiwan, 2010.

U. Seibold, B. Kuebler, S. Thielmann, and G. Hirzinger. „Endoscopic 3 DoF-Instrument with 7 DoF Force/Torque Feedback.” Workshop contribution, presented at ICRA2009, Kobe, Japan, 2009.

U. Hagn, R. Konietschke, A. Tobergte, M. Nickl, S. Jörg, B. Kübler, G. Passig, M. Gröger, F. Fröhlich, U. Seibold, L. Le-Tien, A. Albu-Schäffer, A. Nothhelfer, F. Hacker, M. Grebenstein, and G. Hirzinger. “DLR MiroSurge: a versatile system for research endoscopic telesurgery.” International Journal of Computer Assisted Radiology and Surgery, 2009; 5(2):183-193. DOI: 10.1007/s11548-009-0372-4.

U. Hagn, T. Ortmaier, R. Konietschke, B. Kübler, U. Seibold, A. Tobergte, M. Nickl, S. Jörg, and G. Hirzinger. “Telemanipulator for remote minimally invasive surgery.” IEEE Robotics & Automation Magazine, 15(4):28–38, December 2008.

U. Seibold, B. Kuebler, and G. Hirzinger. “Prototypic force feedback instrument for minimally invasive robotic surgery”, pages 377–400. Medical Robotics, I-Tech Education and Publishing, Vienna, Austria, 2008. ISBN-13: 978-3-902613-18-9.

B. Kübler, G. Passig, U. Seibold, and G. Hirzinger. “Prototypic setup of a surgical forced feedback instrument for minimally invasive robotic surgery.” In: Extended abstract and lecture, CURAC 2006, Hannover, 2006-10-12 - 2006-10-14

U. Seibold, B. Kübler, G. Passig, and G. Hirzinger. “Development of Actuated and Sensor Integrated Forceps for Minimally Invasive Robotic Surgery.” 5th World Congress on Biomechanics, München

B. Deml, T. Ortmaier, and U. Seibold. “The touch a and feel in minimally invasive surgery.” In HAVE 2005, IEEE International Workshop on Haptic Audio Visual Environments and their Applications. Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, pages 33–38, October 2005.

B. Kübler, U. Seibold, and G. Hirzinger. “Development of actuated and sensor integrated forceps for minimally invasive robotic surgery.” The International Journal of Medical Robotics and Computer Assisted Surgery, 1(3):96–107, April 2005.

U. Seibold, B. Kübler, and G. Hirzinger. “Prototype of instrument for minimally invasive surgery with 6-axis force sensing capability.” In ICRA - Procedings of the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, pages 498–503, March 2005.

U. Seibold, B. Kübler, H. Weiss, T. Ortmaier, and G. Hirzinger. “Sensorized and actuated instruments for minimally invasive robotic surgery.” In EuroHaptics, pages 482–485, Munich, Germany, June 2004.

U. Seibold and G. Hirzinger. “A 6-axis force/torque sensor design for haptic feedback in minimally invasive robotic surgery.” In MICRO.tec - 2nd VDE World Microtechnologies Congress, pages 239–244, 2003.

Ulrich Seibold
Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR)

Institut für Robotik und Mechatronik
, Mechatronische Komponenten und Systeme
Tel: +49 8153 28-1374

Fax: +49 8153 28-1134

E-Mail: Ulrich.Seibold@dlr.de
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