Percutaneous interventions via minimally invasive surgical systems can provide patients with better outcomes and faster recovery times than open surgeries. Accurate needle insertions are vital for successful procedures, and actively steered needles can increase system precision. Here, we describe how biology inspired the design of a novel Programmable Bevel-Tip Needle (PBN), mimicking the mechanics and control methods of certain insects ovipositors. Following an overview of our unique research and development journey, this paper explores our latest, biomimetic control of PBNs and its application to neurosurgery, which we validate within a simulated environment. Three modalities are presented, namely a Direct Push Controller, a Cyclic Actuation Controller, and a newly developed Hybrid Controller, which have been integrated into a surgical visual interface. The results of open loop, expert human-in-the-loop and a non-expert user study show that the Hybrid Controller is the best choice when considering system performance and the ability to lesson strain on the surrounding tissue which we hypothesis will result in less damage along the insertion tract. Over representative trajectories for neurosurgery using a Hybrid Controller, an expert user could reach a target along a 3D path with an accuracy of
mm, and non-expert users
mm, both clinically viable results and equivalent or better than the state-of-the-art actively steered needles over 3D paths. This paper showcases a successful example of a biologically inspired, actively steered needle, which has been integrated within a clinical interface and designed for seamless integration into the neurosurgical workflow.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited