HomeNews & MediaPress ReleasesJohns Hopkins APL Researchers Receive Best Medical Paper Award at International Robotics Conference 

For Immediate Release

May 22, 2013

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Paulette Campbell
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Johns Hopkins APL Researchers Receive Best Medical Paper Award
at International Robotics Conference

A team of researchers from The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL), in Laurel, Md., won Best Medical Robotics Paper honors at the 2013 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA). Mike Kutzer and Mehran Armand, of APL's Research and Exploratory Development Department, along with postdoctoral fellow Matt Moses and Johns Hopkins graduate student Hans Ma, won for "A Continuum Manipulator Made of Interlocking Fibers," covering their work on a novel approach to continuum manipulators with controllable stiffness.

ICRA is sponsored by the Robotics and Automation Society of IEEE, a nonprofit, technical professional association of more than 377,000 members in 150 countries and a leading authority in technical areas ranging from computer engineering, biomedical technology and telecommunications, to electric power, aerospace and consumer electronics, among others. The award for Best Medical Robotics Paper was established in 2009 to recognize outstanding work in the area of medical robotics and computer-assisted interventional devices and systems.

While the targeted clinical application for the proposed manipulator is the treatment of bone defects during hip revision surgery, there are several other clinical applications for steerable catheters with controllable stiffness, as well as nonclinical applications for operations in difficult-to-access small spaces. In their paper, the authors presented a new design and developed a proof-of-principle prototype for a continuum manipulator made of interlocking fibers, inspired by the operation of the eukaryote flagellum, complex cellular projections that lash back and forth. (The manipulator was nominated for APL's 2012 Invention of the Year award.)

"Some of the advantages and features of the interlocking fiber design are: ability to bend in two axes without twisting, distribution of tensile and compressive loads across all fibers (resulting in smaller or stronger designs), a large open lumen, controllable stiffness, and multi-mode multi-axis bending in a compact package," they wrote.

The Applied Physics Laboratory, a not-for-profit division of The Johns Hopkins University, meets critical national challenges through the innovative application of science and technology. For more information, visit www.jhuapl.edu.