Faculty Advisor

Iulian I. Iordachita

Faculty Advisor

Raghvendra V. Cowlagi

Faculty Advisor

Cagdas D. Onal

Faculty Advisor

John M. Sullivan Jr.

Faculty Advisor

Gregory S. Fischer


Image guided surgery (IGS), which has been developing fast recently, benefits significantly from the superior accuracy of robots and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) which is a great soft tissue imaging modality. Teleoperation is especially desired in the MRI because of the highly constrained space inside the closed-bore MRI and the lack of haptic feedback with the fully autonomous robotic systems. It also very well maintains the human in the loop that significantly enhances safety. This dissertation describes the development of teleoperation approaches and implementation on an example system for MRI with details of different key components. The dissertation firstly describes the general teleoperation architecture with modular software and hardware components. The MRI-compatible robot controller, driving technology as well as the robot navigation and control software are introduced. As a crucial step to determine the robot location inside the MRI, two methods of registration and tracking are discussed. The first method utilizes the existing Z shaped fiducial frame design but with a newly developed multi-image registration method which has higher accuracy with a smaller fiducial frame. The second method is a new fiducial design with a cylindrical shaped frame which is especially suitable for registration and tracking for needles. Alongside, a single-image based algorithm is developed to not only reach higher accuracy but also run faster. In addition, performance enhanced fiducial frame is also studied by integrating self-resonant coils. A surgical master-slave teleoperation system for the application of percutaneous interventional procedures under continuous MRI guidance is presented. The slave robot is a piezoelectric-actuated needle insertion robot with fiber optic force sensor integrated. The master robot is a pneumatic-driven haptic device which not only controls the position of the slave robot, but also renders the force associated with needle placement interventions to the surgeon. Both of master and slave robots mechanical design, kinematics, force sensing and feedback technologies are discussed. Force and position tracking results of the master-slave robot are demonstrated to validate the tracking performance of the integrated system. MRI compatibility is evaluated extensively. Teleoperated needle steering is also demonstrated under live MR imaging. A control system of a clinical grade MRI-compatible parallel 4-DOF surgical manipulator for minimally invasive in-bore prostate percutaneous interventions through the patient’s perineum is discussed in the end. The proposed manipulator takes advantage of four sliders actuated by piezoelectric motors and incremental rotary encoders, which are compatible with the MRI environment. Two generations of optical limit switches are designed to provide better safety features for real clinical use. The performance of both generations of the limit switch is tested. MRI guided accuracy and MRI-compatibility of whole robotic system is also evaluated. Two clinical prostate biopsy cases have been conducted with this assistive robot.


Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Degree Name



Mechanical Engineering

Project Type


Date Accepted





multi-image registration, teleoperation, MRI-compatible robot, medical robotics, Image-guided therapy, force sensing, haptics