The DLR MICA is the second generation of versatile instruments for minimally invasive surgery developed at the Institute of Robotics and Mechatronics. This interventive instrument is 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 can 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 range from grippers over 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:
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