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Title page for ETD etd-02052019-125544

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Garbin, Nicolo
URN etd-02052019-125544
Title Endoscopic and magnetic actuation for miniature lifesaving devices
Degree PhD
Department Mechanical Engineering
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Pietro Valdastri Committee Chair
Keith L. Obstein Committee Co-Chair
Nabil Simaan Committee Member
Robert J. Webster III Committee Member
Thomas J. Withrow Committee Member
  • magnetic actuation
  • disposable
  • robotic
  • medical device
Date of Defense 2019-01-10
Availability unrestricted
The need for medical technologies that improve patient access to diagnostic techniques and treat pathological conditions in a minimally invasive approach is capitalized in this dissertation with the development, characterization, and testing toward clinical use of a series of endoscopically and magnetically actuated devices.

The first half of this dissertation proposed an alternative solution to the use of conventional flexible endoscopy for the diagnosis of the upper gastrointestinal tract. The proposed disposable flexible endoscope is, compared to conventional endoscopy, more cost effective, intuitive, and hygienic. The device’s endoscopic tip is controlled via pneumatic actuation. Modeling was inspired from multi-backbone continuum robots, and two user interfaces were investigated. First, a robotic platform is used to tackle the closed-loop control problem, then a novel user interface allows direct user-to-task mapping via pure mechanical actuation. The effectiveness of the latter approach was further assessed during in-vivo and cadaveric trials, ease of use was instead determined via approved user studies that involved medical providers with different backgrounds. The device is currently undergoing design freeze toward human trials.

The second half of this dissertation exploits robotic control of magnetic actuation to develop therapeutic medical devices with applications in minimally invasive surgery and subcutaneous implants. A laparoscopic retractor able to retract up to 10 times its own weight, and laparoscopic camera with an hemispherical workspace via a compact unique magnetic coupling, decrease by two the number of incisions needed for abdominal surgery. These technologies decrease trauma, pain, and risk of infection for the patients, and offer better visibility, surgical workspace access, and decrease trocar crowding for the surgeons. Then, a subcutaneously implantable pump developed for the treatment of refractory ascites removes a large quantity of fluids without the need of on-board electronics. All of these devices were tested during ex-vivo and in-vivo trials highlighting the advantages and effectiveness of using magnetic coupling for clinically relevant therapeutic tasks.

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