Medical microrobots have been widely used in clinical applications, particularly the spiral type locomotion mechanism, which was recently considered one of the main self-propelling mechanisms for the next medical microrobot to perform tasks such as capsule endoscopy and drug delivery. However, limits in clinical applications still exist. The spiral action of the microrobot while being used for diagnosis may lead to pain or even damage to the intestinal wall due to the exposed mechanisms. Therefore, a new locomotive mechanism, named the shrouded propeller mechanism, was proposed to achieve a high level of medical safety as well as effective propulsive performance in our study. The shrouded propeller mechanism consists of a bare spiral propeller and a non-rotating nozzle. To obtain a high effective propulsive performance, two types of screw grooves with different shapes including the cylindrical screw groove and the rectangular screw groove with different parameters were analyzed using the shrouded model. Two types of magnetic actuated microrobots with different driving modes, the electromagnetic (three-pole rotor) actuated microrobot and the permanent magnet (O-ring type magnet) actuated microrobot were designed to evaluate the performance of the electromagnetic actuation system. Based on experimental results, the propulsive force of the proposed magnetic actuated microrobot with a shrouded propeller was larger than the magnetic actuated microrobot with a bare spiral propeller under the same parameters. Additionally, the shrouded propeller mechanism as an actuator can be used for other medical microrobots for flexible locomotion.
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