Developing an MR safe calibration and interface module for pneumatic stepper motors

Finished: 2019-12-13

BSc assignment

MRI-guided breast biopsy is used to biopt lesions that are only visible in MRI. The current manual procedure is inaccurate and inefficient, so research is done in robotics that can perform biopsies inside the MRI scanner.

A series of MR safe robotic systems have been developed from Stormram 1 to Sunram 5, which demonstrate proof-of-concepts in various development stages. The central innovative part is the pneumatic stepper motor technology to actuate the robots without use of metal or electricity.

The position of the Sunram 5 has to be calibrated manually before tests. The system cannot obtain the current position of the robot due to the fact that there is no detection system for the position of the robot. When the system is turned on the position of the actuators are unknown. Accurate needle placement in biopsies is important for minimizing the chance of wrong tissue being examined. This is why manual positioning the robot in the right starting position or inserting the current position of the robot in the system is necessary when the robot is turned on. A position detection system could make manual calibration redundant. This way the system can place the biopsy needle in the right position with one command. This could increase accuracy and be less time consuming. 

The Sunram 5 does not consist of an MR safe interface. This means that the current robot is completely controlled from outside the MRI chamber. An interface in the MRI chamber could be preferable.

The goal of this project is to research and build an MR safe detection system and an MR safe interface for a linear pneumatic stepper motor like the ones used in the Sunram 5. This way a new series of MR safe robotic systems can be developed for which automatized position control and an MR safe interface can be employed. The positioning of the actuators can then possibly be controlled by only one command.