Advancing Technologies for Interventional MRI Robotics with Clinical Applications

Paulo A. Carvalho, Worcester Polytechnic Institute


An MRI’s superior soft tissue contrast and ability to perform parametric scanning make it a powerful tool for use during medical procedures; from surgery to rehabilitation. However, the MRI’s strong static magnetic field, fast switching gradients and constrained space make accomplishing procedures within it difficult. Recent advances in the field of robotics have enabled the creation of devices capable of assisting medical practitioners in this environment. In this work, technologies to enable the use and control of robotic assistive devices for MRI interventions are presented. This includes a modular controller that is designed, built and used to control two surgical systems with minimal effect on image quality. Progressive improvements to an MRI conditional actuator including the construction of a first of a kind plastic piezoelectric resonant motor stator that improves the motor’s compatibility with the MRI is presented. Finally, control algorithms are evaluated for real-time functional MRI based control of a rehabilitation robot which includes the use of a robot for controlling brain activity of a subject in an online experiment.