Synchronization of epicardial crawling robot with heartbeat and respiration for improved safety and efficiency of locomotion

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HeartLander is a miniature mobile robot designed to navigate over the epicardium of the beating heart for minimally invasive therapy. This paper presents a technique to decrease slippage and improve locomotion efficiency by synchronizing the locomotion with the intrapericardial pressure variations of the respiration and heartbeat cycles.


Respiratory and heartbeat phases were detected in real time using a chest-mounted accelerometer during locomotion in a porcine model in vivo. Trials were conducted over the lateral aspect of the heart surface to test synchronized locomotion against an unsynchronized control.


Offline evaluation showed that the respiration and heartbeat algorithms had accuracies of 100% and 88%, respectively. Synchronized trials exhibited significantly lower friction, higher efficiency, and greater total distance traveled than control trials.


Synchronization of the locomotion of HeartLander with respiration and heartbeat is feasible and results in safer and more efficient travel on the beating heart. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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