This article presents the design, development, and motion control of a novel flexible robotic laparoscope (FRL). The main structure of the FRL includes a two degrees-of-freedom (DOFs) continuum mechanism driven by two pairs of cable-pulley-driven systems, which are actuated by four miniature linear actuators. A constant-curvature model is employed on the kinematics modeling and analysis of the continuum mechanism with designed major arc notches. The bending control strategy of the continuum mechanism is proposed and realized based on its kinematics model and a feedforward compensation method considering its nonlinearity motion calibration with a suitable initial tension of the driven cables. Besides, the continuum mechanism is made of elastic nylon material through 3D printing technology. An experimental prototype is developed to test the effectiveness and feasibility of the FRL. The experimental results indicate that the FRL has good positioning accuracy and motion performance with potential applications in robot-assisted laparoscopic surgery.
Journal of Mechanisms and Robotics Open Issues