Literature Review

Paper: A Multi-Module Soft Robotic Arm with Soft End Effector for Minimally Invasive Surgery

M. Chen, D. Wang, J. Zou, L. Sun, J. Sun and G. Jin, “A Multi-Module Soft Robotic Arm with Soft End Effector for Minimally Invasive Surgery,” 2019 2nd World Conference on Mechanical Engineering and Intelligent Manufacturing (WCMEIM), Shanghai, China, 2019, pp. 461-465, doi: 10.1109/WCMEIM48965.2019.00097.Notes:

  1. Do you have any conflict of interest in reviewing this paper?

No, I do not.

2. Expertise. Provide your expertise in the topic area of this paper.

2- passing knowledge

3. Summary. Please summarize what you believe are the paper’s main contributions to the field of soft robotics.

The paper proposes a unique approach to designing soft robotic arms for minimally invasive surgery based off the structure of an octopus arm. Soft robotics is effective in this scenario as the material allows for the tool to have greater degrees of movement and move through smaller spaces to access critical organs. if developed, this technology could improve the surgical quality and time for minimally invasive surgery, and open up the option for more types of surgery.

4. Strengths and Weaknesses. What are the main strengths and weaknesses of this work? Does the paper have strengths in originality and novelty?

The paper’s strength is in its detailed presentation of information, from fabrication to testing for control and range of movement. While the material choice of silicone is novel to laparoscopic surgery, and the rationale behind the choice is sound, the actual mechanical design of the robotic arm is not too different from the designs of current laparoscopic tools.

5. Soundness. Are the ideas, algorithms, results or studies technologically/methodologically sound?

Yes, the ideas and studies are sound. However, I am not sure about the results as there is no information on how many times the tests were run or how the data was recorded.

6. Related Work. Does the paper adequately describe related and prior work?

Yes, the paper references prior research done in the field and related topics on bioinspired robots and laparoscopic arm technology.

7. Presentation. Is the paper well organized, well written and clearly presented?

Yes, the paper is well-organized with a clear introduction and explanation of process and results. Diagrams are also used to illustrate fabrication methods and test results.

8. Suggestions. Do you have suggestions for improving this paper?

The paper uses diagrams effectively to communicate the fabrication process of each part of the robotic arm. However, Figure 7 was hard to understand as there lacked some explanation/titles for what each graph was showing.

The paper also had detailed explanations and diagrams supporting the fabrication process and detailed tests were run for each module and articulation of the robotic arm. While the results do seem successful, I think it would be supported further if there were more elaboration on how the data was collected and how many times each test was run.

9. Comments to Committee (Hidden from authors). Does the paper have enough originality and importance to merit publication? Is the paper relevant to the field? These comments will NOT be sent to the authors:

I think the paper does have enough originality and importance to merit publication as laparoscopic arms made with soft materials is still relatively novel to the field. The paper also explains this in its introduction to provide some context for the audience. As the conference is on mechanical engineering and intelligent manufacturing, this paper is relevant to the field as it proposes a unique fabrication method for an engineered tool.

10. Overall Rating. Provide your overall rating of the paper (5 is best)

4 – Probably accept: I would argue for accepting this paper.

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