This paper presents the design, modeling and experimental evaluation of a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)-compatible concentric tube continuum robotic system. This system enables MRI-guided deployment of a precurved and steerable concentric tube continuum mechanism, and is suitable for clinical applications where a curved trajectory is needed. This compact 6 degree-of-freedom (DOF) robotic system is piezoelectrically-actuated, and allows simultaneous robot motion and imaging with no visually observable image artifact. The targeting accuracy is evaluated with optical tracking system and gelatin phantom under live MRI-guidance with Root Mean Square (RMS) errors of 1.94 and 2.17 mm respectively. Furthermore, we demonstrate that the robot has kinematic redundancy to reach the same target through different paths. This was evaluated in both free space and MRI-guided gelatin phantom trails, with RMS errors of 0.48 and 0.59 mm respectively. As the first of its kind, MRI-guided targeted concentric tube needle placements with ex vivo porcine liver are demonstrated with 4.64 mm RMS error through closed-loop control of the piezoelectrically-actuated robot.
Keywords: Concentric tube continuum robot; Image-guided surgery; MR-conditional.