Radiotherapy (RT) enables a selective destruction of tumor cells, although the treatment area is limited to the irradiated volume. Any RT technique comes along with multiple sources of error, which can lead to a deviation of the dose that is applied to the patient. Phantoms—structures that replicate a human and include measurement technology to assess the applied dosage—are used to make such errors observable. Past RT-technologies assumed static tumors. Correspondingly, most existing phantoms comprise only static components. Nowadays, RT is at a transition stage toward techniques which explicitly account for physiological motion. These techniques require phantoms generating such motion. Consequentially, a demand for new kinds of manipulators, which operate with a RT-phantom, has come up and will further increase in the future. Key demands of such manipulators are among others, the generation of full rigid body motion, high acceleration, high stiffness, compactness, little weight, and easy portability. Another indispensable feature is the spatial separation of mechatronic components and phantom structure to ensure human equivalency of the latter. In this work, a new kind of parallel kinematic manipulator (PKM), which is tailored to the requirements of RT-phantom technology, is presented. The PKM consists of low cost standardized mechanical components and sets the target structures, which are located inside a human-equivalent area, into translational and rotational motion in three degrees-of-freedom (DOFs). Only a part of the end-effector is located within the human-equivalent area. All the remaining parts of the PKM are located outside that area. Two versions of the manipulator are presented in detail: their kinematics are derived and their kinetostatic properties are compared. This includes a workspace analysis and the analysis of the transmission behavior in general, meaning the influence of the most important design parameters on the performance. It can be shown that practical differences of both kinematics are negligible, while the modified version provides significant mechanical advantages. In conclusion, a first special purpose manipulator for application in the evolving field of RT-phantom technology is presented. The PKM, which employs a novel kinematic structure, provides higher suitability for its purpose than any other robotic system employed so far for the same purpose.
Development and Analysis of a Novel Parallel Manipulator Used in Four-Dimensional Radiotherapy
Manuscript received July 28, 2016; final manuscript received January 15, 2017; published online March 20, 2017. Assoc. Editor: Marcia K. O'Malley.
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Arenbeck, H., Prause, I., Abel, D., and Corves, B. (March 20, 2017). "Development and Analysis of a Novel Parallel Manipulator Used in Four-Dimensional Radiotherapy." ASME. J. Mechanisms Robotics. June 2017; 9(3): 031006. https://doi.org/10.1115/1.4035990
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