New details have emerged about NeuroArm, the world’s first MRI-guided neurosurgical robot at the University of Calgary, designed to function within the high magnetic field of an MRI environment. Massachusetts-based Johnson Medtech, a subsidiary of Hong Kong’s Johnson Electric, is the company that takes credit for the ceramic motors that give the arm its mobility. Furthermore, we have uncovered an interesting video (below) that gives more details on this whole NeuroArm project.
From the press release by Johnson Medtech:
Working with a team of experts from the University of Calgary and MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd. (MDA), Nanomotion of the Johnson Medtech network collaborated to implement non-magnetic actuators that enable the precision motion necessary for conducting microsurgical operations safely within the strong magnetic field of an MRI system. In the past, the magnetic nature of electric motors and their metal
components restricted surgeons and surgical tools from the MRI environment, making motion impossible.
The neuroArm utilizes sixteen of Nanomotion’s HR2-1-N-3 piezo ultrasonic nonmagnetic motors, coupled with the company’s AB5 drive module. These motors cover six joints, all of which are rotary. Using the real-time visibility into the human body provided by the MRI, the sophisticated Nanomotion actuators in the neuroArm enable surgeons to manipulate tools at a microscopic scale and conduct surgeries that were previously difficult or impossible.
“Our design team overcame a number of challenges in building the neuroArm. One was the need for the neuroArm to operate in the strong magnetic field of the MRI, and with extreme precision,” said Dr. Garnette Sutherland, Professor of Neurosurgery, University of Calgary. “Nanomotion’s non-magnetic piezo ultrasonic motors enable the neuroArm to effectively conduct microsurgical operations within the MRI environment.”
In addition to the non-magnetic benefit of the ceramic motors, Nanomotion’s precision motion control abilities increase the granularity with which a surgeon can work, from within an eighth of an inch using the human hand, to within the width of a hair using the neuroArm. These sophisticated motors provide surgeons with unprecedented detail and control, enabling them to manipulate tools at a microscopic scale.
Press release (.pdf)…
Johnson Electric – JEMedtech…
Flashbacks: NeuroArm: Navigating the Future of Surgery ; NeuroArm Robot Promises to Revolutionise MRI-guided Neurosurgery