Zerobot®: A Remote-controlled Robot for Needle Insertion in CT-guided Interventional Radiology Developed at Okayama University




Since 2012, we have been developing a remote-controlled robotic system (Zerobot®) for needle insertion during computed tomography (CT)-guided interventional procedures, such as ablation, biopsy, and drainage. The system was designed via a collaboration between the medical and engineering departments at Okayama University, including various risk control features. It consists of a robot with 6 degrees of freedom that is manipulated using an operation interface to perform needle insertions under CT-guidance. The procedure includes robot positioning, needle targeting, and needle insertion. Phantom experiments have indicated that robotic insertion is equivalent in accuracy to manual insertion, without physician radiation exposure. Animal experiments have revealed that robotic insertion of biopsy introducer needles and various ablation needles is safe and accurate in vivo. The first in vivo human trial, therefore, began in April 2018. After its completion, a larger clinical study will be conducted for commercialization of the robot. This robotic procedure has many potential advantages over a manual procedure: 1) decreased physician fatigue; 2) stable and accurate needle posture without tremor; 3) procedure automation; 4) less experience required for proficiency in needle insertion skills; 5) decreased variance in technical skills among physicians; and 6) increased likelihood of performing the procedure at remote hospitals (i.e., telemedicine).


  • Acta Medica Okayama

    Acta Medica Okayama 72(6), 539-546, 2018-12

    Okayama University Medical School