Ali Sadeghi (UT) awarded a Crazy Research seed money for his proposal GROWMIS

Safe access to any target point in the human body is a fundamental need in minimally invasive robotic surgery. This has been the motivation for decades of research on the design and development of continuum robotic devices. The fixability and high degree of freedom in continuum robots let them configure complex shapes and provide access to the delicate and challenging parts of the human body via nonlinear and circuitous pathways. In another hand, this flexibility can also cause problems such as undesired deformations (e.g. buckling, looping, and miss guiding) led by the pushing insertion force on the device. Problems that can result in risky injuries and even failure of the procedure.

GROWMIS, is a crazy idea that embeds additive manufacturing as a part of the robot body and develops a robot that can grow. Inspired by the plant root that penetrates and navigates in soil by growing, we will develop a miniature robot that can grow by building its own body. The capability of growth lets the robot navigating unknown environments in an adaptive and safe manner. Features that are ideal for providing safe access in minimally invasive surgery.