MERLIN: MRI-Enabled Robotic non-Linear Incisionless Neurosurgery
The MERLIN project seeks to create a robotic system that is compatible with the intense magnetic fields of a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scanner. This system has exciting potential to transform neurosurgery from traumatic open surgical procedures, to minimally-invasive, MRI-guided interventions. The imaging technology of choice for neurosurgery is MRI, yet conventional robots powered by DC motors cannot operate inside the scanner’s magnet. We are developing a small, fully non-magnetic robot that can safely go with the patient inside the magnet to deliver needle-based therapy under MRI guidance. Our MRI-compatible robotic system steers a needle-sized, tentacle-like robot deep into the brain and offers a promising alternative to open brain surgeries.