Idea and Design

The main idea behind the development of a 3-DOF fMRI-compatible robot was to design a haptic robot that can be placed inside a fMRI environment with as little effort as possible. Most of today's fMRI-compatible robots are 1-DOF or 2-DOF. These robots use hydraulic or pneumatic actuation, requiring long and complicated installation procedures inside an examination room. Hydraulic and pneumatic systems also require a lot of maintenance.

Our haptic system is based on the well-established Phantom Premium 1.5 haptic robot. A composite extension enables the Phantom to safely operate outside the high magnetic flux density field of a fMRI scanner. An aluminum frame ensures rigid support for the Phantom and the extension and allows quick setup of the system. It usually takes less than 10 minutes to place a subject inside a scanner and start an fMRI experiment. A a roll in procedure can be seen in three steps below. Another great feature of the haptic system is that it can be easily adapted to different sizes of subjects. This is of vital importance when your experiment includes many differently sized subjects. Additional information about the design of the system can be found in two articles: MBEC.pdf and Robotica.pdf.