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Minimally Invasive Surgery
Volume 2014, Article ID 307641, 5 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2014/307641
Research Article

In Silico Investigation of a Surgical Interface for Remote Control of Modular Miniature Robots in Minimally Invasive Surgery

1Life Science Informatics-Medical Informatics, Department of Surgery, University of Patras, Rio, 26500 Patras, Greece
2Biomedical Engineering Laboratory, School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, National Technical University of Athens, 15780 Zografou, Athens, Greece

Received 30 May 2014; Accepted 3 August 2014; Published 9 September 2014

Academic Editor: Peng Hui Wang

Copyright © 2014 Apollon Zygomalas et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Aim. Modular mini-robots can be used in novel minimally invasive surgery techniques like natural orifice transluminal endoscopic surgery (NOTES) and laparoendoscopic single site (LESS) surgery. The control of these miniature assistants is complicated. The aim of this study is the in silico investigation of a remote controlling interface for modular miniature robots which can be used in minimally invasive surgery. Methods. The conceptual controlling system was developed, programmed, and simulated using professional robotics simulation software. Three different modes of control were programmed. The remote controlling surgical interface was virtually designed as a high scale representation of the respective modular mini-robot, therefore a modular controlling system itself. Results. With the proposed modular controlling system the user could easily identify the conformation of the modular mini-robot and adequately modify it as needed. The arrangement of each module was always known. The in silico investigation gave useful information regarding the controlling mode, the adequate speed of rearrangements, and the number of modules needed for efficient working tasks. Conclusions. The proposed conceptual model may promote the research and development of more sophisticated modular controlling systems. Modular surgical interfaces may improve the handling and the dexterity of modular miniature robots during minimally invasive procedures.