Mechanical & Materials Engineering, Department of


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Published in IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON ROBOTICS, VOL. 22, NO. 2, APRIL 2006. Copyright © 2006 IEEE. Used by permission.


Laparoscopy is abdominal surgery performed with long tools inserted through small incisions. The use of small incisions reduces patient trauma, but also eliminates the surgeon’s ability to view and touch the surgical environment directly. These limitations generally restrict the application of laparoscopy to procedures less complex than those performed during open surgery. This paper presents a theoretical and experimental analysis of miniature, wheeled, in vivo robots to support laparoscopy. The objective is to develop a wireless mobile imaging robot that can be placed inside the abdominal cavity during surgery. Such robots will allow the surgeon to view the surgical environment from multiple angles. The motion of these in vivo robots will not be constrained by the insertion incisions. Simulation and experimental analyses have led to a wheel design that can attain good mobility performance in in vivo conditions.