Mechanical & Materials Engineering, Department of


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A THESIS Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Master of Science, Major: Mechanical Engineering, Under the Supervision of Professor Carl A. Nelson. Lincoln, Nebraska: August, 2011

Copyright 2011 Chi Min Seow


This thesis presents a novel robotic manipulator with multiple instruments for use in Natural Orifice Translumenal Endoscopic Surgery (NOTES). NOTES is a newly emerging surgical technique that eliminates external incisions on patients’ skin. As a result, better cosmetics, shorter recovery time, and reduced risk of external infection can be achieved.

Research has been ongoing in academia and industry to make this surgical procedure more feasible in human surgeries. Although several robotic platforms have been developed, none of them has the required capability to provide surgeons with the most appropriate tool in a safe and timely matter during surgery. This robotic manipulator is designed to solve the problem.

The background and motivation are elaborated further, followed by the design premise of such a manipulator. Three generations of manipulators that have been fabricated are then detailed. There is also a robot connecting arm added between the manipulator and articulating drive mechanism to add degrees of freedom to the system. Two generations of robot connecting arm design are also explored. The kinematic model of the current prototype, robot folding configurations and future bimanual robot designs are studied before conclusions and future work are discussed.

Advisor: Carl A. Nelson