DOI: 10.1002/admt.202301662 ISSN: 2365-709X

Biomimetic Small Intestinal Peristalsis Simulator Using Circumferential Pneumatic Artificial Muscles (cirPAM)

Sam Peerlinck, Frauke Willemyns, Dominiek Reynaerts, Benjamin Gorissen
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • General Materials Science


Surgical simulators offer clinicians an environment to train techniques before transitioning to on‐patient procedures. The realism with which a certain procedure can be mimicked is limited by the used simulator model. While for certain procedures surgical simulators are well established, other procedures lack a sufficiently realistic hardware model. The field of soft robotics is especially suited to act as a platform for developing soft tissue surgical simulators, matching both stiffness and extent of deformation of biological soft tissue. Here, an integrated, pneumatically actuated intestinal peristalsis simulator is developed that mimics a section of the small intestines. This simulator is able the mimic both the peristalsis functionality and the intestinal morphology. The simulator incorporates novel circumferential pneumatic artificial muscles (cirPAM) that radially contract and expand when exposed to respectively negative and positive pressures while keeping their cross‐sectional thickness constant. By sequencing the inflation of these cirPAM actuators, a global peristaltic motion is created with a peristaltic wave propagating at 20 mm s −1, which is in accordance with human physiology. Finally, the simulator is shown to pump viscous liquids, confirming that besides the morphological semblance, it also functionally resembles human small intestine, and can offer a platform for medical device testing and surgical training.

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