Magnetically driven microrobots have been widely studied for various biomedical applications in the past decade. An important application of these biomedical microrobots is heart disease treatment. In intravascular treatments, a particular challenge is the submillimeter-sized guidewire steering; this requires a new microrobotic approach. In this study, a flexible microrobot was fabricated by the replica molding method, which consists of three parts: (1) a flexible polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) body, (2) two permanent magnets, and (3) a micro-spring connector. A mathematical model was developed to describe the relationship between the magnetic field and the deformation. A system identification approach and an algorithm were proposed for steering. The microrobot was fabricated, and the models for steering were experimentally validated under a magnetic field intensity of 15 mT. Limitations to control were identified, and the microrobot was steered in an arbitrary path using the proposed model. Furthermore, the flexible microrobot was steered using the guidewire within a three-dimensional (3D) transparent phantom of the right coronary artery filled with water, to show the potential application in a realistic environment. The flexible microrobot presented here showed promising results for enhancing guidewire steering in percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI).
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