We developed a safe, minimally invasive articulated flexible endoscopic instrument that is actuated by hydraulic pressure. Metal close coiled helical springs, chemically covered in a vapor deposit membrane of evaporated parylene make up the hydraulic pressure actuators. Made from biocompatible materials, the actuators, specifically fabricated for endoscopic tools, hydraulically extend and contract linearly. The lateral side is static and held in place by a thin polyimide tube, when hydraulic pressure is increased to elongate the actuator, causing the corresponding side to bend. Two types of unidirectional articulating endoscopes consisting of multiple bending links were successfully developed, demonstrated, and their functions were confirmed.
Palpation is a kind of fundamental method for detecting abnormal tissue. It is known as minimally invasive and easy method. However, palpation cannot measure the hardness of bio tissue quantitatively. In order to achieve quantitative palpation, this research proposes force sensor-less palpating method. The advantage of proposal method is to be able to measure bio tissue without considering the space for the force sensor. Therefore, it is possible to measure in narrow area. Validity of the proposed device is confirmed by the animal experiment.