Design, fabrication and evaluation of  an adhesion-based medical gripping instrument

Tissue manipulation during surgery is currently done with a grasping forceps. This pinching instrument is prone to errors related to the force that is applied on the gripped tissue. Using too much force may lead to tissue damage, whereas applying too little force may result in tissue slipping out of the forceps.

One way to realize firm yet gentle grip could be by means of an instrument that relies on adhesive forces rather than pinching forces. In this line, we are developing adhesive pads that can generate high friction forces on soft substrates, such as biological tissue.

In this research project you will be designing a medical instrument that integrates such an adhesive pad for tissue manipulation. One of the challenges herein is that such pads are optimized for high friction, which means that the range and type of movements for tissue manipulation may differ from these of a conventional gripper.

You will work towards the design and experimental evaluation of a prototype of an adhesion-based gripping medical instrument. This includes evaluation of the functional requirements of an adhesion-based instrument to be used in minimal invasive surgery, design and fabrication of a prototype thereof, and testing of its performance with phantoms and ex vivo.

Contact: Peter van Assenbergh,