News Column

Patent Application Titled "Method and Device for Selective Application of a Liquid Jet" Published Online

July 7, 2014



By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Robotics & Machine Learning -- According to news reporting originating from Washington, D.C., by VerticalNews journalists, a patent application by the inventors Bahls, Thomas (Weil, DE); Froehlich, Florian Alexander (Germering, DE), filed on August 7, 2013, was made available online on June 26, 2014.

The assignee for this patent application is Deutsches Zentrum fur Luft-und Raumfahrt E.V.

Reporters obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "The present disclosure relates to a method and a device for selective application of a liquid jet onto and/or into human or animal skin.

"The application and removal of tattoos to and/or from the skin is a difficult task which can be carried out only by well trained persons. So far, the aforementioned operations have been carried out manually such that the accuracy in preparation of a tattoo or removal of a tattoo has been depending on the skills of the person carrying out said operations."

In addition to obtaining background information on this patent application, VerticalNews editors also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent application: "It is an object of the present disclosure to provide a method with the aid of which a liquid jet, in particular tattooing ink or water for removing a tattoo, can be selectively applied onto and/or into the skin.

"In the method according to the disclosure, a liquid jet is selectively applied onto and/or into the human or animal skin. The method comprises the following steps:

"a) First, the position, orientation and shape of the skin patch to be processed are detected and stored. This is necessary to obtain detailed knowledge of the geometrical properties of the skin patch to be processed such that the latter can subsequently be precisely worked on. For this purpose it is possible to first detect the geometrical properties of the body part to be processed. To this end it is e. g. possible to scan the outer contour of the body part. If the tattoo is to be removed, it is further possible, in a subsequent process step, to detect and determine the skin patch to be processed using e. g. an image processing software. For this purpose, the texture of the tattoo which differs from the texture of the remaining skin can be automatically recognized.

"b) In particular, a liquid nozzle guided by a robot arm is repetitively moved over the skin patch to be processed. Within the boundaries of the skin patch to be processed, whose position, orientation and shape are known, the liquid jet is preferably applied to the skin patch in an oscillating movement. Oscillating in this connection means that the liquid jet reciprocates at a constant or varying velocity within the boundaries of the skin patch to be processed, and thus the overall surface of the skin patch to be processed is gradually worked on without the liquid jet dwelling in one position for an extended period of time. Repetitive means that each spot of the skin patch to be processed is not processed only once but several times by the liquid jet. Instead of an oscillating movement the liquid jet can be moved over the skin patch to be processed in any other movement pattern. It is merely of importance that each spot of the skin patch to be processed is worked on to a sufficient extent. The liquid jet is introduced into a specific spot of the skin merely for a predetermined maximum time such that an injury of the skin can be prevented. Further, an accumulation of liquid in the skin can be prevented.

"According to the disclosure, the liquid is applied in a pulsed manner into and/or onto the skin. Further, according to the disclosure, only one liquid jet pulse each is applied to each spot of the skin patch to be processed at each point of time in processing, and the next pulse is applied to another spot of the skin patch to be processed to prevent liquid from accumulating in the skin. Said accumulation would occur if the liquid jet pulse is too long and thus the liquid is introduced into a spot of the skin for an extended period of time. Then an accumulation or reflow of liquid occurs which produces a counter pressure such that the liquid jet cannot penetrate deeply enough into the skin. The aforementioned process steps allow the described liquid accumulation to be prevented and thus a deeper penetration of the liquid jet into the skin to be achieved. Repeated processing of the same spot is carried out only during a repetitive procedure if the first application of the liquid has not produced the desired result.

"The liquid to be applied onto and/or into the skin may be tattooing ink such that the process is a method for a robot-assisted application of a tattoo onto the skin. In this case, the tattoo to be applied must be submitted beforehand in digital form and made available to the control unit of the robot such that the robot arm is driven in such a manner that the tattoo is introduced into the skin in accordance with the submitted design. Corresponding control of the pressure of the liquid jet allows the tattooing ink to be introduced into the skin, which is also the case when tattooing with the aid of needles. In all embodiments of the disclosure it is essential that the liquid itself is pressurized before being introduced into the skin. An advantage of the method according to the disclosure is the high precision which can be attained by the robot-assisted guiding of the liquid nozzle. It is thus possible to produce complex tattoos without a particularly skilled tattooist being required for this purpose.

"Alternatively, the liquid to be applied onto and/or into the skin may be water or any other liquid which is introduced into the skin in a robot-assisted manner to remove a tattoo. In this embodiment, too, high precision can be attained by the robot-assisted introduction of the liquid.

"In this embodiment it is preferred that the geometric configuration of the tattoo to be removed is automatically optically detected on the skin and stored, and the water jet for removing the tattoo is exclusively applied to skin patches containing tattooing ink. An injury of the other skin patches which need not be processed can thus be prevented. In prior art methods for removing tattoos such selective processing of dermal tissue is not possible.

"Preferably, the position, orientation and shape of the skin patch to be processed is dynamically detected, i. e. also during application of the liquid into and/or onto the skin, such that a change in the orientation of the skin can be detected. Driving the robot arm is then correspondingly adapted to the changed position, orientation and/or shape of the skin patch to be processed.

"The detection of the position, orientation and shape of the skin patch to be processed in accordance with process step a) can be carried out by preparing and storing a digital model of the skin patch to be processed.

"The aforementioned information can be detected by scanning the skin patch to be processed with the aid of the distal end of the robot arm, wherein the respective spatial position of this spot is stored when the skin patch is touched by the distal end of the robot arm. This information can be used for the aforementioned modeling.

"Alternatively, a model of the skin patch to be processed can be prepared in any other manner.

"The aforementioned information on the skin patch to be processed can be used for placing the liquid nozzle exactly in the normal direction, i. e. locally perpendicularly to the skin surface. Thus an exactly defined liquid pressure can be constantly applied into the skin.

"Preferably, the position of the liquid nozzle is detected in particular by an optical tracking system. This is realized during operation such that it is known at any time at which position exactly the liquid nozzle is located. On the basis of this information a position control of the liquid nozzle can be carried out.

"Preferably, the contact pressure at which the liquid nozzle is pressed onto the skin is measured and controlled by a sensor. It is thus possible to constantly press the liquid nozzle to the skin at a predetermined maximum force. The maximum force can e. g. be predetermined according to implementation or adjusted by the person carrying out the treatment. Further, it is thus possible to compensate for inaccuracies in the surface model of the skin patch to be treated, which would lead to excessively firm placing of the nozzle. Hereby injuries of the tissue can be prevented. Further, an excessively weak contact or no contact at all with the surface can be prevented. In this case the method according to the disclosure would have a poor effect or no effect at all.

"In a preferred embodiment the liquid is applied in a pulsed manner into and/or onto the skin, wherein the pulse duration ranges between 10 and 200 msec. The pressure applied lies in a range of 20 to 200 bar, preferably 30 to 100 bar, and particularly preferably 50 to 80 bar.

"The method according to the disclosure is preferably suitable for other cosmetic applications where it is of importance to apply a liquid jet with high accuracy and at a defined pressure into and/or onto the skin. Medical applications, in particular surgical or therapeutic methods used on human and/or animal bodies, do not fall under the method according to the disclosure.

"Preferably, following a first, in particular repetitive movement of the liquid nozzle over the skin patch to be processed in accordance with the above method step b), the geometrical configuration of the tattoo to be removed is again automatically optically detected and stored. Subsequently, the robot arm is again driven on the basis of this data such that the water jet for removing the tattoo is exclusively applied to skin patches still containing tattooing ink.

"Further, the disclosure relates to a robot for selectively applying a liquid jet onto and/or into human or animal skin. The robot comprises a robot arm at whose distal end a liquid nozzle is attached. Further, a storage device is provided which is configured for storing the position, orientation and shape of the skin patch to be processed. The robot further comprises a control device for controlling the movement of the robot arm, said control device being configured to output control commands in particular for repetitively moving the robot arm over the skin patch to be processed and for simultaneously controlling the liquid nozzle such that within the boundaries of the skin patch to be processed, whose position, orientation and shape are known, the liquid jet is applied to the skin patch.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

"The sole FIGURE is a schematic representation of a robot according to the present disclosure."

For more information, see this patent application: Bahls, Thomas; Froehlich, Florian Alexander. Method and Device for Selective Application of a Liquid Jet. Filed August 7, 2013 and posted June 26, 2014. Patent URL: http://appft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-adv.html&r=1836&p=37&f=G&l=50&d=PG01&S1=20140619.PD.&OS=PD/20140619&RS=PD/20140619

Keywords for this news article include: Robotics, Machine Learning, Emerging Technologies, Deutsches Zentrum fur Luft-und Raumfahrt E.V..

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Source: Robotics & Machine Learning


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