Researchers at Vanderbilt University have developed a new method of producing microscale and nanoscale ferroelectric fluids. These particles are useful in a variety of piezoelectric, pyroelectric, and electrooptic devices such as thin-film capacitors, electronic transducers, actuators, high-k dielectrics, pyroelectric sensors, and optical memories.
A Vanderbilt team led by anesthesiologist Dr. Rajnish Gupta has developed a collapsible, lightweight and portable patient leg positioner for secure and stable leg positioning during ultrasound guided nerve block anesthetic procedures.
Dr. Patrick Page-McCaw has developed synthetic analogs of N-acetylgalactosamine, finally enabling researchers to track the biosynthesis of chondroitin sulfate along with other glycans. These stunning images demonstrate incorporation of these metabolic labeling reagents to track neurodevelopmental processes in a zebrafish model system. Notably, the metabolic label can be detected post vivo using a standard "click" chemistry reaction. Further, Dr. Page-McCaw has optimized a background reduction strategy to complement this technology by improving the signal-to-noise ratio.
The technology disclosed is an electron gun system that comprises an array of gated field-emitting cathode tips having a diamond pyramid capable of producing an electron beam with exquisitely small emittance (N ~ 2 nm); an accelerator capable of accelerating the emitted electrons to relativistic energies (from ~ 3 Mev to~ 50MeV); and a focusing assembly capable of focusing the accelerated electrons into a focal spot on a diamond crystal to produce hard X-rays. Inventors have observed more than 10 mA average current from a single field-emitting tip with improved performance expected with changes to other system components. By using a single tip it may be possible to improve the transverse brightness of the electron beam by as much as six orders of magnitude, with a corresponding improvement of the spectral brilliance of the X-ray beam.
Vanderbilt Medical Center researchers have developed a non-invasive and reproducible method of assessing right-ventricular function using contrast-echocardiography. The right-ventricular transit time (RVTT) measures the time needed for echocardiographic contrast to travel from the RV to the bifurcation of the main pulmonary artery. Coupled with the pulmonary transit time (PTT), the time needed for contrast to traverse the entire pulmonary circulation, RVTT is part of a family of diagnostic parameters that can report on RV-specific performance as well as the RV's function relative to that of the pulmonary circuit as a whole.
Inventors at Vanderbilt University have developed a non-robotic dexterous laparoscopic manipulator with a wrist providing seven-degrees-of-freedom. It provides an interface which intuitively maps motion of the surgeon's hands to the tool's "hands". The novel user interface approach provides a natural mapping of motion from the surgeon's hands to the instrument tips.
This technology, developed in Vanderbilt University's Advanced Robotics and Mechanism Applications Laboratory, uses a minimally invasive telerobotic platform to perform transurethral procedures, such as transurethral resection. This robotic device provides high levels of precision and dexterity that improve patient outcomes in transurethral procedures.
A team of Vanderbilt engineers has developed an advanced control system that is a first-ever 3D control system for delivering a bevel-based steerable needle to its intended target. The controller is also useful for (a) following a desired curved path through tissue; (b) accurately placing the needle tip at the physician's desired target, and (c) reaching obstructed targets using non-straight paths. Experiments in phantom tissue and ex-vivo liver have validated the concept. Experiments with targets that move due to tissue deformation have also been successful.
Kinesins are motor proteins in eukaryotic cells powered by ATP hydrolysis. These proteins are involved in various cellular functions including cell division. In particular, Kinesin-5 (also known as KIF11 and Eg5) is essential to forming the microtubule spindle structure in mitosis; therefore, this protein is a potential target for chemotherapeutics. Chimeric kinesin proteins, comprising one or more regions from at least two kinesin proteins, are valuable tools to study the molecular mechanism of kinesin function as well as to identify agents that affect kinesin motor function.
A team of Vanderbilt engineers and surgeons have developed a new steerable needle that can make needle based biopsy and therapy delivery more accurate. A novel flexure-based tip design provides enhanced steerability while simultaneously minimizing tissue damage. The present device is useful for almost any needle-based procedure including biopsy, thermal ablation, brachytherapy, and drug delivery.
Premature birth is the leading cause of neonatal death worldwide, affecting 13% of US infants (500,000 babies/year). Of great concern, premature birth cannot currently be reliably predicted or prevented. Existing risk factors and interventions for premature birth focus solely on maternal factors, thereby overlooking paternal factors that influence an infant's development. Vanderbilt researchers have now identified a missing piece of the puzzle and are developing a diagnostic test to predict premature birth risks conferred to infants by their fathers. Of key importance, the test offers meaningful clinical guidance, as risk factors measured by the diagnostic can be modified before conception via supplementation.
A team of Vanderbilt engineers and surgeons has developed a novel bone and tissue graft placement device, primarily for use in the nasal and skull base cavities. The device uses a unique grasping technique to provide control and finesse in the placement of such grafts in addition to combining the roles of multiple instruments into a single device. The clinical purpose of this tool is to provide surgeons with an instrument that can grasp, place, and manipulate rigid and non-rigid graft materials in a controlled manner for skull base reconstruction; such control is very desirable in order to recreate a sound bony barrier that separates the intracranial and extracranial spaces.
This invention presents a robotic wrist and gripper that operate with three independent degrees of freedom (yaw, pitch and roll) for increased dexterity in minimally invasive surgical procedures. This is the smallest robotic wrist of its kind, and due to its size and unparalleled dexterity, this wrist enables complex surgical maneuvers for minimally invasive procedures in highly confined spaces. Examples of surgical areas benefiting from use of this wrist include natural orifice surgery, single port access surgery, and minimally invasive surgery. In particular, the proposed wrist allows for very high precision roll about the longitudinal axis of the gripper while overcoming problems of run-out motion typically encountered in existing wrists. Thus this wrist is particularly suitable for extreme precision maneuvers for micro-surgery in confined spaces.