York Medical Robotics


Limited treatment options are available for treating Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). Small animal models have shown promise in halting neurodegeneration associated with ALS where cellular therapeutics are delivered to the ventral horn of the spinal cord, although this procedure is invasive and requires multi-level laminectomy and dissection of the dura mater. We hypothesized that SpinoBot, a robotic needle guidance platform could deliver cellular therapeutics to the ventral horn percutaneously under MRI guidance, enhancing upon existing invasive and time-consuming techniques for targeting injection sites

Patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis have limited treatment options and a 20% survival rate within five years of diagnosis. Small animal models show promise for halting the associated neurodegeneration when cellular therapeutics are delivered to the ventral horn of the spinal cord. A template-based guidance system was developed to facilitate percutaneous injections under MRI guidance to improve upon existing invasive and time-consuming surgical techniques. Procedure duration was 30 min plus 5 min per insertion, with a mean error of < 2 mm

For greatly increased diagnostic capability, an MRI-compatible tactile sensor design is proposed, which allows Minimally Invasive Surgery to be performed under image guidance, combining the strong capability of MRI soft tissue imaging and intuitive palpation. The sensing unit is based on a piezoelectric sensor methodology, which conforms to the stringent mechanical and electrical design requirements imposed by MR environment


The MR environment imposes significant restrictions on the device design, as any device applied within it must be MR compatible. MR compatible equipment are required to cause negligible adverse effects on the image quality and scanner operation during their normal operating condition. Furthermore, an MR compatible device should cause no additional risk to the patient by way of induced forces, torques, induced currents or heating. Unfortunately, devices incorporating electronic components experience mutual electromagnetic interferences (EMI) by interaction with the scanner magnetic fields and detector coils


A simple design of MRconditional stepper motor which can provide precise and high-torque actuation without adversely affecting the MR image quality. This stepper motor consists of two MR-conditional pneumatic cylinders and the corresponding supporting structures. Alternating the pressurized air can drive the motor to rotate each step in 3.6° with the motor coupled to a planetary gearbox.


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