Faculty Advisor or Committee Member

Stephen S. Nestinger, Committee Member

Faculty Advisor or Committee Member

Glenn R. Gaudette, Committee Member

Faculty Advisor or Committee Member

Gregory S. Fischer, Advisor




Needle-based interventions are pervasive in Minimally Invasive Surgery (MIS), and are often used in a number of diagnostic and therapeutic procedures, including biopsy and brachytherapy seed placement. Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) which can provide high quality, real time and high soft tissue contrast imaging, is an ideal guidance tool for image-guided therapy (IGT). Therefore, a MRI-guided needle-based surgical robot proves to have great potential in the application of percutaneous interventions. Presented here is the design of reconfigurable fiducial-integrated modular needle driver for MRI-guided percutaneous interventions. Further, an MRI-compatible hardware control system has been developed and enhanced to drive piezoelectric ultrasonic motors for a previously developed base robot designed to support the modular needle driver. A further contribution is the development of a fiber optic sensing system to detect robot position and joint limits. A transformer printed circuit board (PCB) and an interface board with integrated fiber optic limit sensing have been developed and tested to integrate the robot with the piezoelectric actuator control system designed by AIM Lab for closed loop control of ultrasonic Shinsei motors. A series of experiments were performed to evaluate the feasibility and accuracy of the modular needle driver. Bench top tests were conducted to validate the transformer board, fiber optic limit sensing and interface board in a lab environment. Finally, the whole robot control system was tested inside the MRI room to evaluate its MRI compatibility and stability.


Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Degree Name



Biomedical Engineering

Project Type


Date Accepted





medical robot, MRI, needle steering, image-guided surgery, registration