The ‘STIFF-FLOP’ Project
Learning flexible surgical manipulator of controlled rigidity – Stiffness controllable Flexible and Learnable manipulator for surgical Operations (STIFF-FLOP).
‘STIFF-FLOP’ is a flexible manipulator of controlled rigidity, capable of learning, used for performance of surgical procedures (Stiffness controllable Flexible and Learn-able manipulator for surgical Operations).
The goal of the project is to build an innovative soft robotic arm that will be able to:
- Pass through a standard port for low-invasive surgery (approx. 12-20 mm diameter);
- Change its configuration including rigidity (controlled hydrostatically) for correct operation, also after occurrence of an expected situation in the environment of the arm.
The project will build a complete system consisting of the following:
- Design and fabrication of a soft arm with a gripper;
- Distributed sensor system;
- Biologically inspired system of interaction and control;
- System of learning by interaction with the operator;
- System for manipulation of objects in complex and uncertain spaces.
The project proposes a solution for robotic laparoscopic surgery that faces the problem of restricted access via trocar and operation in space filled with body organs.
Implementation timeframe: 01/01/2012 – 31/12/2015
Contract number: 287 728, 7th Framework Program
Project budget: EUR 9,554,661.00
Project type: International research project
Coordinator: King’s College London, UK