University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota: Department of Mechanical Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering


Soft Catheter Robots



We aim to develop soft catheter robots that are able to traverse human vasculature and perform procedures with a theranostic tip. We hypothesize that patient specific soft catheter robots can navigate through vasculature while maintaining sufficient blood flow and will reduce the difficulty and time of surgery. The robot that is being developed consists of several actuators that can be grouped into two categories. The first category is the locomotion section which will consist of spiral and extension segments, allowing the robot to move through the vasculature. To maintain blood flow during locomotion, spiral sections are being designed which will allow flow to pass through the center of the helix while simultaneously exerting enough force to hold the actuator in place on the vessel wall. In order to build the spirals two models have been investigated; the Fiber Reinforced Enclosed Elastomer (FREE) model developed at the University of Michigan and a hyper-elastic model which we are currently developing. The second category of robot segments are for theranostics and positioning. These segments will be able to bend and twist to a specific point on a vessel wall. Then a theranostic tip will be able to perform a procedure like ablation on that specific location. The current researchers for this project are Mark Gilbertson and Gillian McDonald.