Steady-hand robotic system for microsurgical augmentation
This paper reports the development of a robotic system designed to extend a human’s ability to perform small-scale (sub-millimeter) manipulation tasks requiring human judgment, sensory integration, and hand-eye coordination. Our novel approach, which we call steady-hand micromanipulation, is for tools to be held simultaneously both by the operator’s hand and a specially designed actively controlled robot arm. The robot’s controller senses forces exerted by the operator on the tool and by the tool on the environment, and uses this information in various control modes to provide smooth, tremor-free, precise positional control and force scaling. Our goal is to develop a manipulation system with the precision and sensitivity of a machine, but with the manipulative transparency and immediacy of hand-held tools for tasks characterized by compliant or semi-rigid contacts with the environment.