During the last several years, legged locomotive mechanism has been considered as one of the main self-propelling mechanisms for future endoscopic microrobots due to its superior propulsion efficiency of an endoscopic microrobot inside the intestinal track. Nevertheless, its clinical application has been largely limited since the legged locomotive mechanism utilizes an end effector which has a sharp tip to generate sufficient traction by physically penetrating and interlocking with the intestinal tissue. This can cause excessive physical tissue damage or even complete perforation of the intestinal wall that can lead to abdominal inflammation. Hence, in this work two types of new end effectors, penetration-limited end effector (PLEE) and bi-material structured end effector (BMEE) were specially designed to acquire high medical safety as well as effective traction generation performance. The microscopic end effector specimens were fabricated with micro-wire electric discharge machining process. Traction generation performance of the end effectors was evaluated by direct measurement of resistance forces during contact-sliding tests using a custom-built contact-sliding tester. The safety of the end effector design was evaluated by examination of microscopic intestinal tissue damage using a scanning electron microscope (SEM). Physical damage characteristics of the intestinal tissue and related contact physics of the end effectors were discussed. From the results, the end effectors were evaluated with respect to their prospects in future medical applications as safe end effectors as well as micro-surgical tools.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) grant funded by the Korea government (MIST) (No. 2010-0018289).
Acknowledgement This research has been supported by the Intelligent Microsystem Center (IMC; http://www.microsystem.re.kr), which carries out one of the 21st century’s Frontier R&D Projects sponsored by the Korea Ministry Of Commerce, Industry and Energy. This work was supported by the Seoul Science Fellowship.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Biomedical Engineering
- Molecular Biology