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December  1, 1999
Microcatheter with Diagnostic Tactile Sensors
Taking two tracks, Olympus researchers are working to create an active-bending microcatheter that can travel through minuscule channels and use diagnostic tactile sensors to measure viscoelasticity
Head of the Active-Bending Catheter Head of the Diagnostic Tactile Sensor
Head of the Active-Bending Catheter Head of the Diagnostic Tactile Sensor
1.5 mm (in dia.) Catheter Prototype with a Shape-Memory Alloy
1.5 mm (in dia.) Catheter Prototype with a Shape-Memory Alloy
Olympus Optical Co., Ltd. is pleased to announce technologies for an active-bending microcatheter with tactile sensors for diagnosis. The research team is looking toward applications in cerebrovascular diagnosis and treatment.
At this point, the project is taking two separate paths. One is focusing on an active-bending mechanism that uses tactile sensors to detect contact that could damage vascular walls. The other component measures viscoelasticity with diagnostic tactile sensors. The two elements will be combined to create an active-bending microcatheter with tactile sensors for diagnosis.
The project is part of the Micromachine Center's Research and Development of Micromachine Technology program supported by the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO).
PATHS TO PROGRESS
With the finer diameter of recent endoscopes, they can be used in almost any part of the body. Equally important is the trend toward endotherapy in treating cancer and other diseases. Unlike invasive open surgery, the approach requires only a small incision - a major contribution to the patient's quality of life.
Olympus research promises to open up even more possibilities. Currently divided into two tracks, the project has set an overall goal of a active-bending microcatheter with tactile sensors for diagnosis. The active-bending mechanism will be indispensable to the endotherapy of the future, while the diagnostic tactile sensors will measure viscoelasticity. As the research progresses, these complementary elements will be integrated into a single solution.
Active-Bending Mechanism with Tactile Microsensors
The tip of the microcatheter has tactile sensors that respond to pressure from contact. The bending portion employs shape-memory alloy (SMA) wires.
When the tactile sensors touch a wall, pressure is exerted, and the SMA wires running across the sensors are heated. As the temperature increases, the wires are signaled to bend and avoid contact by moving away from the wall.
Principle and Structure of the Active-Bending Mechanism
Principle and Structure of the Active-Bending Mechanism
Key Features
The catheter has a 1.5 mm external diameter and a 0.6 mm internal diameter. Controlled by electricity, the SMA wire serves as a bending actuator for multidirectional movement.
Each of the three tactile sensors measures 0.15 x 0.15 x 0.5 mm. Multifunction-integrated film (MIF) technologies are used to fabricate and mount them on the tip of the catheter. When they touch a vascular wall, they instruct the catheter to bend and avoid contact.
Tactile Microsensors for Diagnosis
The tactile sensors use a piezoelectric resonator for diagnosis. When they encounter a viscoelastic substance, the oscillating frequency and oscillating amplitude change according to the viscoelastic characteristics. This effect makes it possible to detect viscoelastic properties by measuring the changes in the oscillating frequency and oscillating amplitude.
Principle of the Diagnostic Tactile Sensors
Principle of the Diagnostic Tactile Sensors
Key Features
The simple structure is the key to much more compact sensors.
Results are more accurate since the characteristics of viscosity and elasticity are calculated separately.
Measurement can be conducted in real-time.
Data readings are consistent since the measuring process is unaffected by pressure on the sensor (i.e., the amount and angle of force exerted).
*Olympus Optical Co., Ltd. was changed to OLYMPUS CORPORATION as of October 1, 2003.
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