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Soft Robot. 2019 Feb;6(1):54-68. doi: 10.1089/soro.2018.0019. Epub 2018 Oct 12.

A Magnetically Controlled Soft Microrobot Steering a Guidewire in a Three-Dimensional Phantom Vascular Network.

Jeon S1,2, Hoshiar AK1,2, Kim K1,2, Lee S1,2, Kim E1,2, Lee S1,2, Kim JY1,2, Nelson BJ2,3, Cha HJ4, Yi BJ4, Choi H1,2.

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1 Department of Robotics Engineering, Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science and Technology (DGIST), Daegu, South Korea.
2 DGIST-ETH Microrobotics Research Center (DEMRC), DGIST, Daegu, South Korea.
3 Institute of Robotics and Intelligent Systems, ETH Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland.
4 Department of Electronic Systems Engineering, Hanyang University, Ansan, Korea.


Magnetically actuated soft robots may improve the treatment of disseminated intravascular coagulation. Significant progress has been made in the development of soft robotic systems that steer catheters. A more challenging task, however, is the development of systems that steer sub-millimeter-diameter guidewires during intravascular treatments; a novel microrobotic approach is required for steering. In this article, we develop a novel, magnetically actuated, soft microrobotic system, increasing the steerability of a conventional guidewire. The soft microrobot is attached to the tip of the guidewire, and it is magnetically steered by changing the direction and intensity of an external magnetic field. The microrobot is fabricated via replica molding and features a soft body made of polydimethylsiloxane, two permanent magnets, and a microspring. We developed a mathematical model mapping deformation of the soft microrobot using a feed-forward approach toward steering. Then, we used the model to steer a guidewire. The angulation of the microrobot can be controlled from 21.1° to 132.7° by using a magnetic field of an intensity of 15 mT. Steerability was confirmed by two-dimensional in vitro tracking. Finally, a guidewire with the soft microrobot was tested by using a three-dimensional (3D) phantom of the coronary artery to verify steerability in 3D space.


guidewire; intravascular treatments; magnetic steering; percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI); soft microrobot; steerability

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