Technology origami helped create miniature surgical instruments

S. Meghleby and his instrument

Professor Larry Howell and Spencer Megleby of Brigham Young University (BYU), Utah, along with Professor Brian Jensen, developed a surgical tool based on the principles of origami-engineering.

The goal that scientists set for themselves is to create a surgical instrument that penetrates the body through tiny incisions. Already inside the tool is turned and brought into working position. At the end of the operation, it is removed, and the incision quickly heals without suturing.

Origami tool

Researchers argue that their joint work is caused by the need to create miniature surgical instruments, since traditional instruments have already reached their “minimum”. The BYU team has developed new design concepts where there are no contact deflecting joints and parts. All necessary manipulations take place on the principle of origami.

One such tool is a robotic tweezer. It is so small that it can penetrate the operated organ through a 3-mm incision. According to Meglebi, their medical devices are not much different from the space technology that they developed for NASA. In space, the same idea works: when transporting to the place of use, the object should be extremely miniature, only then it unfolds to an effective size.

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