A robotic flexible drill and its navigation system for total hip arthroplasty

Ahmad Nazmi Bin Ahmad Fuad, Hariprashanth Elangovan, Kamal Deep, Wei Yao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
42 Downloads (Pure)


This paper presents a robotic flexible drill and its navigation system for Total Hip Arthroplasty (THA). The new robotic system provides an unprecedented and unique capability to perform curved femoral milling under the guidance of a multimodality navigation system. The robotic system consists of three components. Firstly, a flexible drill manipulator comprises multiple rigid segments that act as a sheath to a flexible shaft with a drill/burr attached to the end. The second part of the robotic system is a hybrid tracking system that consists of an optical tracking system and a position tracking system. Optical tracking units are used to track the surgical objects and tools outside the drilling area, while a rotary encoder placed at each joint of the sheath is synchronized to provide the position information for the flexible manipulator with its virtual object. Finally, the flexible drill is integrated into a computer-aided navigation system. The navigation system provides real time guidance to a surgeon during the procedure. The flexible drill system is then able to implement Total Hip Arthroplasty by bone milling. The final section of this paper is an evaluation of the flexible and steerable drill and its navigation system for femoral bone milling in sawbones.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)464-474
Number of pages11
JournalAnnals of Biomedical Engineering
Issue number3
Early online date22 Nov 2017
Publication statusPublished - 31 Mar 2018


  • robotics
  • flexible
  • steerable
  • tracking
  • navigation
  • orthopaedics
  • total hip arthroplasty (THA)


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