Towards Robotics-Assisted Endomicroscopy in Percutaneous Needle-based Interventions

Balint Thamo*, Vasiliki Voulgaridou, Harry Wood, James Stone, Kevin Dhaliwal, Mohsen Khadem

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Endomicroscopy uses the properties of light to obtain microscopic images of tissue in real-time and provide insights into disease processes. To date, endomicroscopy has primarily been directed against surface/near-surface inflammatory and other conditions, as there is an absence of an integrated technology for directed and automated optical fibre delivery. In this paper, we propose a robotic platform that offers controlled optical imaging in percutaneous interventions. The platform incorporates a concentric tube robot (CTR) to steer a fluorescent imaging probe with cellular and bacterial imaging capability inside soft tissue. Moreover, we develop motion planning algorithms that accept pre-operatively defined regions of interest for imaging and calculate desired insertion configuration and trajectory for reaching the target. Finally, we refine our previous control algorithm to autonomously steer the robot on the pre-planned path toward the target region for endomicroscopic imaging. The platform is tested on phantom tissue with embedded targets. Results demonstrate the feasibility of controlled imaging of target regions at tissue surfaces equal to or bigger than 3 mm and reaching targets inside tissue at a maximum depth of 50 mm. Combining emerging endomicroscopic imaging modalities with continuum robots can enable future research in on-site diagnosis and treatment of infectious diseases.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)110-119
Number of pages10
JournalIEEE Transactions on Medical Robotics and Bionics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 29 Jan 2024

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • surgical robots
  • endomicroscopy
  • continuum robots
  • motion planning


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