Servizio Comunitario di Informazione in materia di Ricerca e Sviluppo - CORDIS

Hand-held mechatronic tool

The principal feature of the tool is the capability of early detection of crossing an interface between layers of different tissues and automatically stopping the feed, according to the specification of the operator.

The demonstrator has the features listed below:
Effectiveness of penetration control: the maximum protrusion is well below the specified limits in all the modes, thus a great improvement has been obtained with respect to the existing drills;
Friendliness: since the surgeon interacts with the tool exclusively by the footswitch he must concentrate only on positioning the drill bit, maintaining the correct orientation and exerting a sufficient amount of thrust force. Some failures have been observed only when the surgeon does not exert a sufficient amount of thrust force on the drilling tool. For this reason, a short training for unexperienced operators is required prior to use of the tool for the first time;
Patient safety: the system is intrinsically safe because the drilling tool is handled directly by the surgeon who can interrupt the operation at any time. Moreover, in case of failure both the surgeon or the assistant can stop the tool by means of an emergency button.In the worst case, the tool behaves like a traditional one with no automatic penetration control capability, so the surgeon is the sole person responsible for the execution of the procedure;
Medical staff safety: the system gives information in real time regarding the drill bit position inside the bone by means of a graphical interface without the need of stopping the procedure and without using X-rays. This significantly reduces the professional risk of the members of the medical staff;
Modularity of control software: the control software has been realised in C++ language using a library of purposely written real time classes where each class executes a particular control function. In fact, each class might be considered as a hardware block and the main code as the link of these blocks.The core of the control algorithm is also seen as a block that might be changed if a better algorithm is available.In this manner, the control software becomes extremely manageable and so its updating is very easy.

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Reported by

University of Florence
Via Santa Marta 3
50139 Firenze
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