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.
Vanderbilt's ARMA laboratory has developed a robot and algorithms for surgery of the upper airways by using a trans-nasal access path. This robotic device enables office-based minimally invasive procedures in the throat and sinuses without requiring full anesthesia or a hospital stay.
This technology enhances the capabilities of continuum robots by not only detecting contact during movement but also estimating the position of the contact during the movements executed by the robot. An algorithmic feedback loop can then constrain the movement of the robot to avoid damage to its robot arm, damage to another robot arm or damage to surrounding structure. Applications for this technology include enhanced safe telemanipulation for multi-arm continuum robots in surgery, micro-assembly in confined spaces, and exploration in unknown environments.
Vanderbilt researchers have developed a novel method for contactless simulation of the central nervous system. This technique involves the use of infrared neural stimulation (INS) to evoke the observable action potentials from neurons of the central nervous system. While infrared neural stimulation of the peripheral nervous system was accomplished almost a decade ago, this is the first technique for infrared stimulation of the central nervous system.
This technology uses combinations of materials with different electronic properties of micro-or nanometerscale grain size to create a memristive device (twoterminal, variable resistance circuit element). Amidst growing interest in memristors, this technology is one of the first to use composite materials, which make the memristive qualities of the material tunable.
Researchers at Vanderbilt University have developed a revolutionary method for incorporating nanodiamond particles into an existing polymer matrix. The resulting composite materials have greatly enhanced mechanical and chemical properties that can be tailored during this process.
New compounds developed at Vanderbilt demonstrate a unique mechanism of broad spectrum activity to stymy antibacterial resistance. The compounds are particularly useful in chronic infections where long term antibiotic therapy fails, because it specifically kills small colony variants -- the bacteria that have developed resistance mechanisms. These compounds show promise in treating Methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA), Bacillus anthracis (anthrax), and in overcoming difficult-to-treat infections in bone in cystic fibrosis patients. These compounds could be combined with new (and old) antimicrobial drugs to outwit resistant bacterial infections.
This technology uses a novel continuum robot that provides a steerable channel to enable safe surgical access to the anatomy of a patient. This robotic device has a wide range of clinical application and is a significant advance from the rigid tools currently used in minimally invasive procedures.
Dr. Fernando P. Polack, a leading international researcher in pediatric infectious diseases, has discovered a new prognostic to predict which infants are at high-risk for hospitalization caused by severe Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) infections. The test measures a mutation in a single gene, along with a quantifiable environmental factor that confers susceptibility. The goal is to categorize infants most likely to benefit from preventative care.
A Vanderbilt engineering senior design team has developed a car seat safety attachment that detects if a child has been left unattended in a car seat and if the environment has become uncomfortably hot or cold. The system is designed with a graduated alarm system based on "alert states" that provides a combination of visual, tactile and audio alerts.
The overall lifetime colorectal cancer risk for Americans is 5.1%, thus screening is recommended for those over the age of 50. Currently, colonoscopies are the standard for monitoring colon cancer development, but are invasive. Therefore, a need exists for a minimally-invasive test that could measure colon cancer risk. Ideally, such a test would offer a straightforward, personalized recommendation on how to substantially reduce colorectal cancer risk. Researchers at Vanderbilt University have identified a test that can characterize colorectal cancer risk and recommend a strategy for risk reduction. Importantly, this test requires only a blood sample and information about a person's diet.
A Vanderbilt research group has discovered a diagnostic to identify patients with non-small cell lung cancer that would respond to MEK inhibitor therapies. This diagnostic indirectly measures loss of tumor suppressor activity by the protein LKB1. The traditional approach to determine MEK inhibitor sensitivity, which is measurement of LKB1 mutations, misses 50% of patients who would benefit from these drugs. This diagnostic measures expression of a small panel of genes to identify a larger population that is sensitive to MEK inhibition.