This paper presents the development of a compact laparoscopic assistant robot. The robot was designed to increase convenience and reduce possible interference with surgical staff by confining the majority of motions inside the abdomen. Its size was miniaturized as much as possible for
convenient handling. A bending mechanism composed of several articulated joints was introduced to produce motions inside the abdomen. The proposed assistant robot can generate 3-DOF motion, including 2-DOF internal bending motion and 1-DOF external linear motion. Since the robot itself functions
as a laparoscope, a small CCD camera module and a bundle of optical fibers were integrated as part of the system. For accurate control, mathematical modeling of the bending mechanism and a method of hysteresis compensation were introduced and implemented. For the control of the robot, a voice
interface and a visual-servoing method were implemented. The performance of the developed system was tested through solo-surgery of in vivo porcine cholecystectomy. It was found that the views generated by the bending mechanism were sufficient throughout the surgery. Since the robot
has functions comparable to the previously developed systems, while retaining its compactness, it is expected to be a useful device for human cholecystectomy.
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