MR Compatible Robot Technology

A critical tool for Neuroscience and Image Guided Interventions

Revolutionary robots guided by real-time 3D magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanning would enable reliable and precise minimally invasive operations with minimal recovery time. On the other hand, using a robotic interface in conjunction with functional MRI (fMRI) would enable neuroscientists to ‘view’ and investigate the brain mechanisms involved in performing tasks with arbitrary dynamics. There is, however, a major problem for robots working within an MRI environment: conventional materials, actuators and sensors interfere with the static magnetic field, switching magnetic field gradients and radio frequency  (RF) signals generated by the MR scanner.

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The first comprehensive robot system for neurosurgery, MINERVA, was developed in our lab at EPFL.

The central nervous system stabilizes unstable dynamics by learning optimal impedance’, Burdet et al., Nature 414:446-449 (2001).

Goal

In this project we are developing a comprehensive robot technology compatible with MRI and fMRI, i.e. actuators, sensors, electronic hardware and software able to exert computer-controlled force/torque simultaneously to the imaging. These manipulators are safe, and smooth enough to interact with human motion. The control is based on existing PC technology and can be synchronized with commercially available scanners. We have developed several haptic interfaces to investigate the control of wrist, arm and finger movements as well as tactile sensing, for neuroscience groups in Europe and Japan.

This is a collaborative project between the group of Hannes Bleuler at the Swiss Federal Institute of  Technology (EPFL) and the group of Etienne Burdet at Imperial College London, which currently involves Dominique Chapuis at EPFL and Roger Gassert at Imperial.

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An fMRI compatible 2DOF haptic interface to study arm movements installed at ATR International in Japan. An interface used at the University Hospital Basel, Switzerland, to study the neural control of the hand.

News and Events

References

Journal Papers
  • R. Gassert, A. Yamamoto, D. Chapuis, L. Dovat, H. Bleuler and E. Burdet. Actuation methods for applications in mr environments. Concepts in Magnetic Resonance Part B: Magnetic Resonance Engineering, 2006.
  • R. Gassert, R. Moser, E. Burdet and H. Bleuler. An MRI/fMRI Compatible Robotic System with Force-Feedback for Interaction with Human Motion. IEEE/ASME Transactions on Mechatronics, April 2006.
Conferences

  • D. Chapuis, X. Michel, C.-M. Chew, E.Burdet and. H. Bleuler. A Haptic Knob with a Hybrid Ultrasonic Motor and Powder Clutch Actuator, Proc. in 2nd Joint Eurohaptics Conference and Symposium on Haptic Iinterfaces for Virtual Environment and Teleoprator Systems (World Haptics), 2007.
  • D. Chapuis, R. Gassert, E. Burdet and H. Bleuler. Hybrid ultrasonic motor and electrorheological clutch system for mr-compatible haptic rendering. Proc. IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), 2006.
  • R. Gassert, L. Dovat, O. Lambercy, Y. Ruffieux, D. Chapuis, G. Ganesh, E. Burdet and H. Bleuler. A 2-DOF fMRI compatible haptic interface to interact with arm movements. Proc. IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), 2006. 
  • R. Gassert, N. Vanello, D. Chapuis, V. Hartwig, E.P. Scilingo, A. Bicchi, L. Landini, E. Burdet and H. Bleuler. Active mechatronic interface for haptic perception studies with functional magnetic resonance imaging: Design and compatibility criteria. Proc. IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), 2006.
  • D. Chapuis, R. Gassert, G. Ganesh, E. Burdet and H. Bleuler. Investigation of a cable transmission for the actuation of MR compatible haptic interfaces. Proc. of the first IEEE / RAS-EMBS International Conference on Biomedical Robotics and Biomechatronics (BioRob), 2006.
  • R. Gassert, L. Dovat, G. Ganesh, E. Burdet, H. Imamizu, T. Milner and H. Bleuler. Multi-joint Arm Movements to Investigate Motor Control with fMRI. Proc. IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Conference (EMBC), September 2005.
  • L. Dovat, R. Gassert, D. Chapuis, G. Ganesh, E. Burdet and H. Bleuler. A Haptic Interface based on Potential Mechanical Energy to Investigate Human Motor Control using fMRI. Proc. IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Conference (EMBC), September 2005.
  • D. Chapuis, R. Gassert, L. Sache, E. Burdet, and H. Bleuler. Design of a simple MRI/fMRI compatible force/torque sensor. Proc. IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Intelligent Systems (IROS), 2004.
  • E. Burdet, R. Gassert, G. Gowrishankar, D. Chapuis, and H. Bleuler. fMRI compatible haptic interfaces to investigate human motor control. Proc. 9th International Symposium on Experimental Robotics (ISER), 2004.
  • G. Ganesh, R. Gassert, E. Burdet and H. Bleuler, Dynamics and Control of an MRI Compatible Master-Slave System with Hydrostatic Transmission. Proc. IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), 2004
  • R. Moser, R. Gassert, E. Burdet, L. Sache, H. R. Woodtli, J. Erni, W. Maeder and H. Bleuler, An MR Compatible Robot Technology. Proc. IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), 2003.