How DC Micromotors Are Powering Advances in Medical Technology


The field of Endoscopy has been creating new medical techniques to perform minimally invasive procedures. Endoscopy refers to devices, broadly called endoscopes, which allow doctors to examine a patient’s internals and perform surgery through the use of specialized, miniature tools instead of using large incisions. These instruments have helped reduce the chance of infection, increased patient recovery time, and given doctors high precision tools for delicate surgeries.

The ability to manufacture tools for complicated surgeries required high precision, miniaturized components. In particular, delivering power to these tools has been revolutionized with the use of DC micromotors.

For a particular example of how DC micromotors are advancing medical  technology , take the automated cannula, a handheld device that can take tissue biopsies for cancer detection.

 Technology  Is Changing Medicine

Biopsies used to be a relatively invasive procedure performed by a surgeon. Incisions large enough to accommodate a surgeon’s hand would be made in order to harvest a sample. Now, a cannula can take a series of samples with one single incision no larger than two centimeters and is programmed to be used in the hands of a technician rather than using the limited time of a skilled surgeon. This type of advance is vital to improving medicine for both the patient’s care while lowering costs in one of the most expensive healthcare systems worldwide.

The Nuts And Bolts

The ingenuity in this  technology  is the driver unit. The automated unit is capable of taking samples and moving the probe along three degrees of freedom, doing this all within a two centimeter space while delivering the necessary torque to cut through tissue.

Brushed DC motors were utilized to provide the necessary torque. The use of brushed DC motors enabled the device to generate enough power for all of the cannula functions without compromising the strict size requirement. A compact planetary gearhead connected the power delivery to the cannula head, allowing the probe to rotate the cutter, rotate the outer disposable chamber, and move the cutter down the axis of the probe. The unique design of a planetary gearhead enabled all of these movement patterns to be performed in a miniature package.

Finally, a microcontroller is integrated into the entire system to allow a total programmable, automated sampling process. This flexibility allows the unit to perform any required task and to be adaptable to changing medical practice without undergoing obsolescence. Combined with the miniaturized brushed DC motors and planetary gearhead, this cannula will be able to automate procedures for hospitals.

The tools for automated tissue sampling and biopsies is just one application of how DC micromotors are helping the medical field employ smaller, more powerful tools to compliment their daily operations. These advances are vital to reforming the healthcare system in order to provide care at lower costs and with fewer risks without compromising quality. In the end, patients are the ones who enjoy the end benefits, such as lowered costs, faster recovery times, and fewer complications, of medical  technology .

Source by Chris A. Harmen

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