1) Introduction to Mechatronics:
Mechatronics is a relatively new term that was created by the Japanese. It consists of the integration of electrical, mechanical engineering and computing.
The term mechatronics does not have a solid definition however it is safe to say that that it is a multidiscipline and a combination of various systems. It is a key to the next generation of machine and robots.
– Example of Mechatronic systems:
Usually, a mechatronic system is composed of four primary components. These components are sensors, actuators, controllers and obviously the mechanical components.
- Robots: a robot is a device with such capabilities as independently moving either by walking on its feet or rolling on wheels. They have been designed to perform complex actions such as grasping and moving objects. Some robots even resemble the behavior of living creatures such as animals or even humans
- Washing machine: a washing machine is a device that is used to wash laundry, it is composed of 4 components: sensors, actuators, a microprocessor and the mechanical parts.
– Fields where mechatronics can be used:
Being a combination and the integration of many different systems, mechatronics can be used in various fields and domains such as:
- The Medical field: such as surgery, Radiology, Emergency Medicine…
- The Industrial Automation such as car manufacturing, additive manufacturing… – Inspection and maintenance: such as oil pipelines inspection.
1) Mechatronic and surgical robots:
Some of the most famous surgical mechatronic systems include the followings
ARTEMIS is an Advanced Robotics and Telemanipulator System that is used in Minimally Invasive Surgeries. The main purpose of its designing this surgical robot was performing certain activities such as planning, training. Artemis was also designed to perform various minimally invasive surgical procedures in robotic surgeries. The main components of this surgical robot are two master-slave units. These two units guide the surgical instruments plus a remotely controlled endoscope that guides the system. Each master-slave device indeed consists of a work unit which is the slave unit and the control unit which is the master unit. Both of these units are controlled by a computer-based software.
- Work Unit
The work unit is responsible for making operations on the patient through surgical instruments consisting of multifunctional effectors and a flexible distal section providing six degrees of freedom.
- Control Unit
This unit is directed by the surgeon. It has been designed to provide the surgeon with the ability to operate by intuitively guiding the effector with ease.
- Computer-based control system
The computer-based control system interconnects the master and slave units in a surgical robot together. It consists of monitoring systems, graphical systems, and user interfaces.
2.2) the DA VINCI Surgical System
The da Vinci Surgical System is a surgical robotic system that was made by the American company Intuitive Surgical. It was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in the year 2000. Using The DA VINCI surgical robot, surgeons perform the most complex and delicate surgical procedures through very small cuts with high precision. In 2012 it was estimated that the DA VINCI surgical robot is used in hospitals worldwide by 200,000 surgeons.
- How does it work?
A certified surgeon and the operating room staff perform a procedure using a specialized surgical console. The surgeon views the surgical site in full HD and uses the platform to control the robotic arms.
– Benefits of using the DA VINCI surgical robot
The DA VINCI system is getting popularity and positive feedback for various reasons, the system itself has a lot of benefits to offer to the medical field, such as:
- Using the DA VINCI system the patients may experience significantly less pain
- Using the DA VINCI system patients will lose less blood than the traditional surgical techniques
- Thanks to the DA VINCI’s small incisions the patent will have minimal scarring thus having a shorter recovery time. This will allow the patient to leave the hospital and return to normal daily activities a lot faster.
– Drawbacks of using the DA VINCI surgical robot
The DA VINCI system may be a revolutionary technology and even with all its benefits and praise, it does not lack some drawbacks. Such as:
- It is difficult for users to learn
- The system uses a software that cannot be modified by physicians
- Not to mention its price is too expensive for many hospitals
2.3) Medical Imaging: Gantry Systems
In medical facilities, such as hospitals and clinics the Medical imaging equipment requires precision. A gantry system provides doctors the ability to hold radiation detectors/source in order to scan and diagnose the patient.
– How does it work?
Equipped with compact and silent actuators a gantry can move and tilt in different directions with ease and precision without causing any loud or annoying noises which can bother the patient.
2.4) Patient Beds
Thanks to modern technology, engineers and designers found an innovative solution for hospital beds. Using mechatronic technology patients are now able to precisely adjust and position their beds with maximum security and safety.
– How do they work?
These beds are equipped with actuation systems and they can offer various height adjustments and elevation for the head, legs, and knees, they also have an auto-contour for comfortable sitting. The beds are equipped with handsets and electrical pedals which allow the patient to be able to control the height and position of the bed. The bed itself can help technicians and engineers keep track of their maintenance plan, it is equipped with LED and a Buzzer to indicate if there is any problem with the bed, or if it is approaching its end of service life.
Despite the expensive prices of robots and its complications, the implantation of mechatronics in different systems will continue to rise and expand due to its innovation and its revolutionary ways of creating new solutions to different things in various different fields and domains, it is estimated that by the near future mechatronics will be used and implemented in almost every field. As long as computer science shines mechatronics and surgical robots will thrive.