News Column

"Operating Mechanism of Medical Device and Medical Manipulator" in Patent Application Approval Process

June 5, 2014



By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Politics & Government Week -- A patent application by the inventor YANAGIHARA, Masaru (Tokyo, JP), filed on January 17, 2014, was made available online on May 22, 2014, according to news reporting originating from Washington, D.C., by VerticalNews correspondents.

This patent application is assigned to Olympus Corporation.

The following quote was obtained by the news editors from the background information supplied by the inventors: "The present invention relates to an operating mechanism of medical device with an auxiliary driving force that assists a load-side manipulation input using a driving force, and a medical manipulator including the operating mechanism.

"Conventionally, in manipulation devices of surgical robots, a manipulation arm with an auxiliary driving force is known. The manipulation arm is a member that assists manipulation of an operator with a driving force using a driving mechanism, such as a motor, and makes an operational feeling of an operator light, or the like, improving an operational feeling.

"In the manipulation arm with an auxiliary driving force, torque is applied to the manipulation arm from the driving mechanism. However, if friction or backlash in the gears of the driving mechanism is transmitted to the operator, an operational feeling is deteriorated instead. Thus, controlling the torque applied to a load side, such as the manipulation arm, from the driving mechanism has been studied.

"As an example, a mechanism that controls torque is described in Non-Patent Document 1 'A Study on the Torque Control of a DC Motor with Reduction Gears' by Kazuo Tanie et al, Collection (Edition C) of Papers of Japan Society of Mechanical Engineers, Volume 54, No. 503, pp 1515-9, July, 1988. In this mechanism, a torque sensor is installed at an output shaft, and torque control is performed by feeding back the output of the torque sensor to a motor current. However, a strain gauge torque sensor that is being used has problems with stability, noise tolerance, or the like when the torque sensor is a portion of the output shaft.

"In order to solve the above problems, a mechanism that performs torque control using the detection of positional information only is described in Non-Patent Document 1 'A Study on the Torque Control of a DC Motor with Reduction Gears'. In this mechanism, elastic bodies are inserted into the output shaft instead of the torque sensor, and an encoder, which detects the rotational angle of the output shaft on the motor side of the elastic bodies and the rotational angle of the output shaft on the load side, is provided. Then, torque control is performed by performing feedback based on the values of these rotational angles."

In addition to the background information obtained for this patent application, VerticalNews journalists also obtained the inventor's summary information for this patent application: "According to a first aspect of the invention, an operating mechanism of medical device includes a first motion transmission part fixed to a load-side member; a driving source configured to generate an auxiliary driving force that assists an operation of the first motion transmission part; a second motion transmission part configured to be operated by the auxiliary driving force; a connecting part which connects the first motion transmission part and the second motion transmission part, transmits the auxiliary driving force from the second motion transmission part to the first motion transmission part, wherein at least a part of the connecting part is capable of an elastic deformation; a detecting unit configured to detect at least one of the first operation amount of the first motion transmission part and the second operation amount of the second motion transmission part; a control unit configured to control the driving source based on the first operation amount and the second operation amount detected by the detecting unit; and a regulating unit configured to regulate so that an amount of the elastic deformation of the connecting part is equal to or more than a predetermined amount.

"According to a second aspect of the invention, in the operating mechanism of medical device according to the first aspect, the regulating unit may be configured to limit the difference between the first operation amount of the first motion transmission part and the second operation amount of the second motion transmission part to less than a predetermined amount.

"According to a third aspect of the invention, in the operating mechanism of medical device according to the second aspect, the regulating unit may be a mechanical stopper provided in a coupling position between the first motion transmission part and the second motion transmission part.

"According to a fourth aspect of the invention, in the operating mechanism of medical device according to the third aspect, the stopper may have braking unit configured to brake at least one of the first motion transmission part and the second motion transmission part.

"According to a fifth aspect of the invention, in the operating mechanism of medical device according to the second aspect, the operation detecting unit may have a first detector that detects the first operation amount of the first motion transmission part and a second detector that detects the second operation amount of the second motion transmission part, and the regulating unit may be configured to limit the difference to less than a predetermined amount based on the detection values of the first detector and the second detector.

"According to a sixth aspect of the invention, the operating mechanism of medical device according to the fifth aspect may further include a determination unit that determines whether or not the regulating unit is made to operate based on the detection values of the first detector and the second detector.

"According to a seventh aspect of the invention, in the operating mechanism of medical device according to the sixth aspect, the regulating unit may switch between an on-state and an off-state of transmission of the auxiliary driving force to the second motion transmission part from the driving source based on the determination of the determination unit.

"According to an eighth aspect of the invention, in the operating mechanism of medical device according to the sixth aspect, the regulating unit may include braking unit configured to brake at least one of the first motion transmission part and the second motion transmission part based on the determination of the determination unit.

"According to a ninth aspect of the invention, in the operating mechanism of medical device according to the sixth aspect, the control unit may control the operation of the driving source based on the determination of the determination unit, and function as the regulating unit.

"According to a tenth aspect of the invention, in the operating mechanism of medical device according to the sixth aspect, the regulating unit may switch between an on-state and an off-state of transmission of an operating signal to the driving source from the control unit based on the determination of the determination unit.

"According to an eleventh aspect of the invention, a medical manipulator may include the operating mechanism of medical device according to any one of the first to tenth aspects.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

"FIG. 1 is a view showing a medical manipulator to which an operating mechanism of medical device of a first embodiment of the invention is applied.

"FIG. 2 is a schematic perspective view showing the structure of a first joint section of the medical manipulator of the first embodiment of the invention.

"FIG. 3A is a cross-sectional view of a connecting portion between a first shaft and a second shaft of the first joint section of the medical manipulator of the first embodiment of the invention, in the direction orthogonal to the axis of the first shaft.

"FIG. 3B is a cross-sectional view along line A-A of FIG. 3A.

"FIG. 4 is a schematic perspective view showing the structure of a first joint section in a modification of the medical manipulator of the first embodiment of the invention.

"FIG. 5A is a cross-sectional view of the connecting portion between the first shaft and the second shaft of the first joint section of the medical manipulator of the first embodiment of the invention, in the direction orthogonal to the axis of the first shaft.

"FIG. 5B is a cross-sectional view in a line B-B of FIG. 5A.

"FIG. 6 is a schematic perspective view showing the structure of a first joint section of a medical manipulator to which an operating mechanism of medical device of a second embodiment of the invention is applied.

"FIG. 7 is a cross-sectional view of the connecting portion between the first shaft and the second shaft of the first joint section of the medical manipulator of the second embodiment of the invention, in the direction orthogonal to the axis of the first shaft.

"FIG. 8 is a schematic perspective view showing the structure of a first joint section of a medical manipulator to which an operating mechanism of medical device of a third embodiment of the invention is applied.

"FIG. 9 is a schematic perspective view showing the structure of a first joint section in a modification of the medical manipulator of the third embodiment of the invention.

"FIG. 10A is a cross-sectional view of the connecting portion between the first shaft and the second shaft of a first joint section in a medical manipulator to which an operating mechanism of medical device of a fourth embodiment of the invention is applied, in the direction orthogonal to the axis of the first shaft.

"FIG. 10B is a cross-sectional view of the connecting portion between the first shaft and the second shaft of the first joint section in the medical manipulator to which the operating mechanism of medical device of the fourth embodiment of the invention is applied, in the direction orthogonal to the axis of the first shaft.

"FIG. 11A is a cross-sectional view of the connecting portion between the first shaft and the second shaft of a first joint section in a modification of the medical manipulator of the fourth embodiment of the invention, in the direction orthogonal to the axis of the first shaft.

"FIG. 11B is a cross-sectional view of the connecting portion between the first shaft and the second shaft of the first joint section in a modification of the medical manipulator of the fourth embodiment of the invention, in the direction orthogonal to the axis of the first shaft.

"FIG. 12 is a schematic perspective view showing the structure of a fourth joint section in another modification of the medical manipulator of the fourth embodiment of the invention.

"FIG. 13 is a schematic perspective view showing the structure of a first joint section in a medical manipulator related to a modification of the embodiment of the invention.

"FIG. 14 is a schematic perspective view showing the structure of a first joint section in a medical manipulator related to another modification of the embodiment of the invention.

"FIG. 15 is a schematic perspective view showing the structure of a first joint section in a medical manipulator related to another modification of the embodiment of the invention.

"FIG. 16 is a plan view of a medical manipulator related to another modification of the embodiment of the invention.

"FIG. 17 is a cross-sectional view of the connecting portion between the first shaft and the second shaft of a first joint section in a medical manipulator related to another modification of the embodiment of the invention, in the direction orthogonal to the axis of the first shaft.

"FIG. 18 is a schematic perspective view showing the structure of a first joint section in a medical manipulator related to another modification of the embodiment of the invention.

"FIG. 19A is a cross-sectional view of the connecting portion between the first shaft and the second shaft of a first joint section of a medical manipulator of another modification of the embodiment of the invention, in the direction of the axis of the first shaft.

"FIG. 19B is a cross-sectional view along line C-C of FIG. 19A."

URL and more information on this patent application, see: YANAGIHARA, Masaru. Operating Mechanism of Medical Device and Medical Manipulator. Filed January 17, 2014 and posted May 22, 2014. Patent URL: http://appft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-adv.html&r=1316&p=27&f=G&l=50&d=PG01&S1=20140515.PD.&OS=PD/20140515&RS=PD/20140515

Keywords for this news article include: Olympus Corporation.

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