Authors: Haochen Wang, Ali El Wahed
This paper reports on the performance evaluation of a novel latching-type electromagnetic actuator which is designed to be embedded at selected joints along single-port laparoscopic surgical instruments (SLS). The aim of this actuator is to allow these instruments to become articulated with a push of a button in order to provide the optimum angulation required during SLS operations. This new actuator is comprised of electromagnetic coil elements, soft magnetic frames and a permanent magnet. Unlike conventional electromagnetic actuators, latching-type electromagnetic actuators could maintain their positions at either end of the actuation stroke without any power application requirement. In the current design, magnetic attraction forces initiated between the permanent magnet and the magnetic frame are utilised to lock the position of the actuator whilst a certain angulation position of the actuator is achieved as a result of the magnetic repulsion forces established between the permanent magnet and the coil elements. The performance of the new actuator in terms of the output force, maximum angulation and patient’s safety, was evaluated experimentally and the results were found to compare well with those acquired numerically using finite element methods. This actuator was seen to exhibit sufficient actuation forces and hence, it was capable of providing adaptable angulation characteristics for SLS tools. Finally, thermal evaluation of the actuator’s operation was conducted, which was found to be within safety limits specified by clinicians.
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