My lab creates medical robots not only for minimally invasive surgery, but also for targeted drug delivery and for tissue regeneration. This talk will describe three of our technologies. The first consists of tetherless robots that are powered, controlled and imaged using an MRI scanner. These devices vary from patient-mounted needle-driving robots to capsules that can move inside fluid-filled body lumens. The second technology consists of a class of robot implants designed to apply traction forces over a period of weeks inside the body so as to induce the regeneration of soft tissues. Applications include lengthening the esophagus and bowel for the treatment of congenital defects and disease. The third is a type of continuum robot that is based on concentrically combining pre-curved superelastic tubes. We are using this technology to create multi-armed systems for intracranial endoscopic surgery. We are also developing endoscopically-guided catheters that can navigate autonomously inside the blood-filled beating heart.
Pierre E. Dupont is Chief of Pediatric Cardiac Bioengineering and holder of the Edward P. Marram Chair at Boston Children’s Hospital. He is also a Professor of Surgery at Harvard Medical School. His research group develops robotic instrumentation and imaging technology for medical applications. He received the BS, MS and PhD degrees in Mechanical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY, USA. After graduation, he was a Postdoctoral Fellow in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, USA. He subsequently moved to Boston University, Boston, MA, USA where he was a Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Biomedical Engineering. He is an IEEE Fellow, a Senior Editor for the IEEE Transactions on Robotics and a member of the Advisory Board for Science Robotics.