A review on recent advances in soft surgical robots for endoscopic applications

M. Wildan Gifari, Hamid Naghibi*, Stefano Stramigioli, Momen Abayazid

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    49 Citations (Scopus)
    382 Downloads (Pure)


    Background: Soft materials, with their compliant properties, enable conformity and safe interaction with human body. With the advance in actuation and sensing of soft materials, new paradigm in robotics called “soft robotics” emerges. Soft robotics has become a new approach in designing medical devices such as wearable robotic gloves and exoskeleton. However, application of soft robotics in surgical instrument inside human body is still in its infancy. Aims: In this paper, current application and design of soft robots specifically applied for endoscopy are reviewed. Materials & Methods: Different aspects in the implementation of soft robotics in endoscope design were reviewed. The key studies about MIS and NOTES were reviewed to establish the clinical background and extract the limitations of current endoscopic device in the last decade. Results and discussion: In this review study, the implementation of soft robotics concepts in endoscopic application, with highlights on different features of several soft endoscopes, were evaluated. The progress in different aspects of soft robotics endoscope, current state, and future perspectives were also discussed. Conclusion: Based on the survey on the structural specification, actuation, sensing, and stiffening the future soft surgical endoscopes are recommended to fulfil the following specifications: safe especially from pressure leakage, fully biocompatible materials, MR‐compatible, capable for large bending in at least two antagonistic directions, modularity, adjustable stiffness.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalInternational Journal of Medical Robotics and Computer Assisted Surgery
    Issue number5
    Early online date8 May 2019
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2019


    • abdominal
    • actuators
    • digestive system
    • endoscopy
    • minimal invasive surgery
    • natural orifice surgery
    • safety
    • sensors
    • soft robotics


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