Micron: An Active Tremor-Canceling Microsurgical Instrument

Positioning error is inherent in normal human hand motion. This includes components such as physiological tremor and jerk. For a surgeon performing microsurgery, involuntary hand motion limits the accuracy with which he or she operates. This problem is especially significant in the fields of ophthalmological and neurological surgery. To deal with this problem, we are developing an intelligent active hand-held instrument for ophthalmological microsurgery. This instrument senses its own motion, distinguishes between desired and undesired motion using advanced filtering techniques, and actively compensates for undesired motion by an equal but opposite deflection of its own tip. A full prototype, with 6 sensors and 6 actuators, has been completed and preliminary tests have demonstrated attenuation of tremor-like oscillations by as much as 50%.