DESIGN, DEVELOPMENT, AND EVALUATION OF A MRI-GUIDED NEUROSURGICAL INTRACRANIAL ROBOT
Desai, Jaydev P.
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Brain tumors are among the most feared complications of cancer. Their treatment is challenging because of the lack of good imaging modality and the inability to remove the complete tumor. To overcome this limitation, we propose to develop a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)-compatible neurosurgical robot. The robot can be operated under continuous MRI, and the Magnetic Resonance (MR) images can be used to supplement physicians' visual capabilities, resulting in precise tumor removal. We have developed two prototypes of the Minimally Invasive Neurosurgical Intracranial Robot (MINIR) using MRI compatible materials and shape memory alloy (SMA) actuators. The major difference between the two robots is that one uses SMA wire actuators and the other uses SMA spring actuators combined with the tendon-sheath mechanism. Due to space limitation inside the robot body and the strong magnetic field in the MRI scanner, most sensors cannot be used inside the robot body. Hence, one possible approach is to rely on image feedback to control the motion of the robot. In this research, as a preliminary approach, we have relied on image feedback from a camera to control the motion of the robot. Since the image tracking algorithm may fail in some situations, we also developed a temperature feedback control scheme which served as a backup controller for the robot. Experimental results demonstrated that both image feedback and temperature feedback can be used reliably to control the joint motion of the robots. A series of MRI compatibility tests were performed to evaluate the MRI compatibility of the robots and to assess the degradation in image quality. The experimental results demonstrated that the robots are MRI compatible and created no significant image distortion in the MR images during actuation. The accomplishments presented in this dissertation represent a significant development of using SMA actuators to actuate MRI-compatible robots. It is anticipated that, in the future, continuous MR imaging would be used reliably to control the motion of the robot. It is aspired that the robot design and the control methods of SMA actuators developed in this research can be utilized in practical applications.