Faculty Advisor or Committee Member

Michael A. Gennert, Committee Member

Faculty Advisor or Committee Member

Allen H. Hoffman, Committee Member

Faculty Advisor or Committee Member

John M. Sullivan, Jr., Committee Member

Faculty Advisor or Committee Member

John J. Blandino, Committee Member

Faculty Advisor or Committee Member

Gregory S. Fischer, Advisor

Faculty Advisor or Committee Member

Clare M. Tempany, Committee Member




Percutaneous needle placement, a minimally invasive procedure performed dozens of millions in the U.S. each year, relies on dedicated skill and long-term training due to difficult control of needle trajectory inside tissue and mental registration of images to locations inside the patient. Inaccurate needle placement may miss cancer tumors during diagnosis or eradicate healthy tissue during therapy. MRI provides ideal procedure guidance with the merit of excellent soft tissue contrast and volumetric imaging for high spatial resolution visualization of targets and surgical tool. However, manual insertion in the bore of an MRI scanner has awkward ergonomics due to difficult access to the patient, making both training and intervention even harder.

To overcome the challenges related to MRI electromagnetic compatibility and mechanical constraints of the confined close-bore, a modular networked robotic system utilizing piezoelectric actuation for fully actuated prostate biopsy and brachytherapy is developed and evaluated with accuracy study. To enhance manipulation dexterity, two kinds of steerable continuum needle robots are developed. The asymmetric tip needle robot performs needle rotation and translation control to minimize tissue deformation, and increase steering dexterity to compensate placement error under continuous MRI guidance. The MRI-guided concentric tube robot is deployed to access delicate surgical sites that are traditionally inaccessible by straight and rigid surgical tools without relying on tissue reaction force. The master-slave teleoperation system with hybrid actuation is the first of its kind for prostate intervention with force feedback. The teleoperation controller provides the feel and functionality of manual needle insertion. Fabry- Perot interferometer based fiber optic force sensor is developed for the slave manipulator to measure needle insertion force and render proprioception feedback during teleoperation.


Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Degree Name



Mechanical Engineering

Project Type


Date Accepted





prostate cancer, image-guided intervention, biopsy, brachytherapy, continuum robot, piezoelectric motor, haptics, Fabry-Perot interferometer, magnetic resonance imaging, teleoperation, surgical robotics