Dr. Ren was invited to talk at 2021 ICEE workshop on Safeguarding Public Health During Infectious Disease Pandemics Using Medical Robotics, Wearable Technology, and AI.
Pilot Study of Trans-oral Robotics to Meet the Minimal Exposure Needs During Infectious Disease Pandemics, Dr. Hongliang Ren
Abstract: Swabbing tests have proved to be an effective method of diagnosis for a wide range of diseases. There are high risks of infection for surgeons during the face-to-face COVID-19 swab sampling due to the novel coronavirus’s infectivity. Teleoperated or self-administered swabs can mitigate potential occupational health hazards and reliance on healthcare workers during traditional swabbing procedures. We present some pilot studies on flexible transoral robotic approaches and mechanisms for swab sampling. One prospective robot comprises a flexible manipulator, an endoscope with a monitor, and a master device. A 3-prismatic-universal flexible parallel mechanism with 3 degrees of freedom (DOF) is used to realize the manipulator’s movements. The flexibility of the manipulator improves the safety of testees. Under the vision guidance from the endoscope, a master device can control the swab’s motion attached to the manipulator for sampling. We will also discuss other possible methods to apply closed kinematic chain theory to develop a self-administered viral swab to collect respiratory specimens. The proposed sensorized swab models utilizing hollow polypropylene tubes possess mechanical compliance, simple construction, and inexpensive components. These foldable telescopic structures with multiple kirigami cuts minimize components involved in the system as the characteristics are built directly into the material.