A Compact Dental Robotic System Using Soft Bracing Technique

Jing Li, Zhong Shen, Wen Yu Tian Xu, Walter Yu Hang Lam, Richard Tai Chiu Hsung, Edmond Ho Nang Pow, Kazuhiro Kosuge, Zheng Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


A wide range of commonly performed dental procedures, from operative caries removal, crown preparation, filling, to Orthodontia, could potentially benefit from robotic assistance or enhancement. Despite the wide applicability, dental robots have received far less research attention in comparison with surgical robots in general, with the vast majority of state-of-the-art dental robot systems built around commercially available industrial robotic manipulators. In this letter, we propose a novel robotic manipulator system dedicated to dental applications. The proposed robot design utilizes tendon-sheath transmission, by which the electric-motor actuators could be placed away from the manipulator, resulting in substantially more compact size and lighter weight than industrial-arm-based state-of-the-art systems. The main contribution of this letter is introducing a soft-robotic bracing element, which could substantially improve manipulator performance including stiffness, force capability, and accuracy. The concept, design, and fabrication aspects of the soft bracer are presented in detail in this letter. Design and system integration of the entire dental robot system are also introduced, and the performance of the system is validated using a fabricated prototype, where the benefits and unique performances of using the soft bracer are highlighted from experimental results. With compact size, excellent tool interchangeability, and fully customized toward dental procedure specifications, the proposed dental robot system with soft bracer could potentially be used in wide applications from caries removal to crown treatments, offering a promising alternative with substantially smaller footprint and lower cost to current solutions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8624272
Pages (from-to)1271-1278
Number of pages8
JournalIEEE Robotics and Automation Letters
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Apr


  • Tendon/wire mechanism
  • medical robots and systems

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Control and Optimization
  • Artificial Intelligence


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