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The University of Tennessee, Knoxville


Flexible, Multi-Legged Robots

Caleb Rucker, Assistant Professor of Mechanical EngineeringEngineering

The use of robotics in surgery has reduced patient recovery times, trauma, and cost for several types of procedures. However, the impact of this technology is limited by dexterity and size of current robotic tools, especially for procedures in confined spaces that are difficult to access. In the REACH robotics lab, we are creating smaller, stronger, and more dexterous robotic tools for minimally invasive surgery.  Manipulators that use multiple flexible legs which extend, bend, and twist can provide unique articulated motion through curved access pathways. Larger versions of these robots can also work alongside humans with inherent safety due to their lightweight, flexible structure. Demonstration videos of several robot prototypes will be shown, where student operators control robot motion remotely.

two flexible wire platforms
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