(19)
(11)EP 2 811 932 B1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT SPECIFICATION

(45)Mention of the grant of the patent:
26.06.2019 Bulletin 2019/26

(21)Application number: 13706336.8

(22)Date of filing:  05.02.2013
(51)International Patent Classification (IPC): 
A61B 34/30(2016.01)
A61B 90/00(2016.01)
A61B 18/14(2006.01)
A61B 18/12(2006.01)
(86)International application number:
PCT/US2013/024736
(87)International publication number:
WO 2013/119545 (15.08.2013 Gazette  2013/33)

(54)

ROBOTICALLY CONTROLLED SURGICAL INSTRUMENT

ROBOTISCH GESTEUERTES CHIRURGISCHES INSTRUMENT

INSTRUMENT CHIRURGICAL ROBOTISÉ


(84)Designated Contracting States:
AL AT BE BG CH CY CZ DE DK EE ES FI FR GB GR HR HU IE IS IT LI LT LU LV MC MK MT NL NO PL PT RO RS SE SI SK SM TR

(30)Priority: 10.02.2012 US 201261597603 P

(43)Date of publication of application:
17.12.2014 Bulletin 2014/51

(73)Proprietor: Ethicon LLC
00969 Guaynabo (PR)

(72)Inventors:
  • PARIHAR, Shailendra Kumar
    Mason, Ohio 45040 (US)
  • MILLER, Matthew C.
    Cincinnati, Ohio 45212 (US)
  • WORRELL, Barry C.
    Centerville, Ohio 45458 (US)

(74)Representative: Carpmaels & Ransford LLP 
One Southampton Row
London WC1B 5HA
London WC1B 5HA (GB)


(56)References cited: : 
EP-A1- 1 815 950
US-A1- 2010 016 852
US-A1- 2007 156 119
US-A1- 2011 290 853
  
      
    Note: Within nine months from the publication of the mention of the grant of the European patent, any person may give notice to the European Patent Office of opposition to the European patent granted. Notice of opposition shall be filed in a written reasoned statement. It shall not be deemed to have been filed until the opposition fee has been paid. (Art. 99(1) European Patent Convention).


    Description

    BACKGROUND



    [0001] The present disclosure relates generally to the field of robotic surgery. In particular, the present disclosure relates to, although not exclusively, robotically controlled surgical instruments. More particularly, the present disclosure relates to, although not exclusively, robotically controlled electrosurgical instruments having robotically controlled articulation features for robotically articulating the surgical instrument.

    [0002] Many surgical procedures require cutting or ligating blood vessels or other internal tissue. Many surgical procedures are performed using minimally invasive techniques where a hand-held instrument is used by the surgeon to perform the cutting or ligating.

    [0003] Electrosurgical medical instruments generally include an end effector having an electrical contact, a radio frequency (RF) generation circuit for generating an RF drive signal and to provide the RF drive signal to the at least one electrical contact where the RF generation circuit also includes a resonant circuit. The RF circuit includes circuitry to generate a cyclically varying signal, such as a square wave signal, from a direct current (DC) energy source and the resonant circuit is configured to receive the cyclically varying signal from the switching circuitry. The DC energy source is generally provided by one or more batteries that can be mounted in a housing portion of the instrument, for example.

    [0004] A variety of surgical instruments include a tissue cutting element and one or more elements that transmit RF energy to tissue (e.g., to coagulate or seal the tissue). An example of such a device is the ENSEAL® Tissue Sealing Device by Ethicon Endo-Surgery, Inc., of Cincinnati, Ohio. Further examples of such devices and related concepts are disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 6,500,176 entitled "Electrosurgical Systems and Techniques for Sealing Tissue," issued December 31, 2002; U.S. Pat. No. 7,112,201 entitled "Electrosurgical
    Instrument and Method of Use," issued September 26, 2006; U.S. Pat. No. 7,125,409, entitled "Electrosurgical Working End for Controlled Energy Delivery," issued October 24, 2006; U.S. Pat. No. 7,169,146 entitled "Electrosurgical Probe and Method of Use," issued January 30, 2007; U.S. Pat. No. 7,186,253, entitled "Electrosurgical Jaw Structure for Controlled Energy Delivery," issued March 6, 2007; U.S. Pat. No. 7,189,233, entitled "Electrosurgical Instrument," issued March 13, 2007; U.S. Pat. No. 7,220,951, entitled "Surgical Sealing Surfaces and Methods of Use," issued May 22, 2007; U.S. Pat. No. 7,309,849, entitled "Polymer Compositions Exhibiting a PTC Property and Methods of Fabrication," issued December 18, 2007; U.S. Pat. No. 7,311,709, entitled "Electrosurgical Instrument and Method of Use," issued December 25, 2007; U.S. Pat. No. 7,354,440, entitled "Electrosurgical Instrument and Method of Use," issued April 8, 2008,; U.S. Pat. No. 7,381,209, entitled "Electrosurgical Instrument," issued June 3, 2008; U.S. Pub. No. 2011/0087218, entitled "Surgical Instrument Comprising First and Second Drive Systems Actuatable by a Common Trigger Mechanism," published April 14, 2011; and U.S. Pat. App. No. 13/151, 481, entitled "Motor Driven Electrosurgical Device with Mechanical and Electrical Feedback," filed June 2, 2011, published as US2012116379.

    [0005] In addition, a variety of surgical instruments include a shaft having an articulation section, providing enhanced positioning capabilities for an end effector that is located distal to the articulation section of the shaft. Examples of such devices include various models of the ENDOPATH® endocutters by Ethicon Endo-Surgery, Inc., of Cincinnati, Ohio. Further examples of such devices and related concepts are disclosed in US2011/0290853, entitled "Robotically-driven Surgical Instrument with E-Beam Driver"; U.S. Pat. No. 7,380,696, entitled "Articulating Surgical Stapling Instrument Incorporating a Two-Piece E-Beam Firing Mechanism," issued June 3, 2008; U.S. Pat. No. 7,404,508, entitled "Surgical Stapling and Cutting Device," issued July 29, 2008; U.S. Pat. No. 7,455,208, entitled "Surgical Instrument with Articulating Shaft with Rigid Firing Bar Supports," issued November 25, 2008; U.S. Pat. No. 7,506,790, entitled "Surgical Instrument Incorporating an Electrically Actuated Articulation Mechanism," issued March 24, 2009; U.S. Pat. No. 7,549,564, entitled "Surgical Stapling Instrument with an Articulating End Effector," issued June 23, 2009; U.S. Pat. No. 7,559,450, entitled "Surgical Instrument Incorporating a Fluid Transfer Controlled Articulation Mechanism," issued July 14, 2009; U.S. Pat. No. 7,654,431, entitled "Surgical Instrument with Guided Laterally Moving Articulation Member," issued February 2, 2010; U.S. Pat. No. 7,780,054, entitled "Surgical Instrument with Laterally Moved Shaft Actuator Coupled to Pivoting Articulation Joint," issued August 24, 2010; U.S. Pat. No. 7,784,662, entitled "Surgical Instrument with Articulating Shaft with Single Pivot Closure and Double Pivot Frame Ground," issued August 31, 2010; and U.S. Pat. No. 7,798,386, entitled "Surgical Instrument Articulation Joint Cover," issued September 21, 2010.

    SUMMARY



    [0006] In one embodiment, a robotically controlled surgical instrument is provided, the robotically controlled surgical tool. The surgical tool comprises a tool mounting portion comprising a tool mounting housing, a tool mounting plate, and a coupler to couple a shaft assembly comprising an articulation section to the tool mounting portion. An articulation mechanism is configured to receive a proximal end of the shaft assembly to articulate the articulation section of the shaft assembly. An interface mechanically and electrically couples the tool mounting portion to a manipulator. The articulation mechanism comprises a cam mechanism operative to articulate the articulation section of the shaft assembly, and is characterised in that the cam mechanism comprises a dual cam comprising first and second cam portions. The dual cam assembly is coupled to a rotatable body, wherein the rotatable body is coupled to a driven element adapted to rotatably couple to the interface. The cam mechanism further comprises a first follower arm having a first end operatively coupled to the first cam portion, and a second follower arm having a first end operatively coupled to the second cam portion. The first follower arm has a second end rotatably coupled to a first pivot spool and the second follower arm has a second end rotatably coupled to a second pivot spool.

    FIGURES



    [0007] 

    Figure 1 illustrates one embodiment of a robotic surgical system of the present disclosure in block diagram form.

    Figure 2 illustrates one embodiment of a master controller that may be used in connection with a robotic arm slave cart of the type depicted in figure 3.

    Figure 3 illustrates one embodiment of robotic arm cart 300 configured to actuate a plurality of surgical tools.

    Figure 4 illustrates one embodiment of a robotic manipulator that may include a linkage to constrain movement of a surgical tool.

    Figure 5 illustrates one embodiment of an alternative set-up joint structure.

    Figure 6 illustrates a perspective view of one embodiment of a surgical tool that is well-adapted for use with a robotic system.

    Figure 7 illustrates a top view of one embodiment of the surgical tool shown in figure 6.

    Figure 8 illustrates a bottom view of one embodiment of the surgical tool shown in figure 6.

    Figure 9 illustrates a side view of one embodiment of the surgical tool shown in figure 6.

    Figure 10 illustrates a side view of one embodiment of the surgical tool shown in figure 6.

    Figure 11 illustrates a front view of one embodiment of the surgical tool shown in figure 6.

    Figure 12 illustrates a rear view of one embodiment of the surgical tool shown in figure 6.

    Figure 13 illustrates a perspective view of one embodiment of the surgical tool shown in figure 6 with the tool mounting housing removed.

    Figure 14 illustrates a perspective view of one embodiment of the surgical tool shown in figure 6 with the tool mounting housing removed.

    Figure 15 illustrates a perspective view of one embodiment of the tool mounting housing of the surgical tool shown in figure 6.

    Figure 16 illustrates a bottom view of one embodiment of the tool mounting housing of the surgical tool shown in figure 6.

    Figure 17 illustrates a perspective view of one embodiment of the surgical tool shown in figure 6 with the tool mounting housing and tool mounting plate removed.

    Figure 18 illustrates a perspective view of one embodiment of the surgical tool shown in figure 6 with the tool mounting housing and a tool mounting plate removed.

    Figure 19 illustrates a perspective view of one embodiment of the tool mounting plate of the surgical tool shown in figure 6.

    Figure 20 illustrates a bottom view of one embodiment of the tool mounting plate of the surgical tool shown in figure 6.

    Figure 21 illustrates a top view of one embodiment of the surgical tool shown in figure 6 with the tool mounting housing and the tool mounting plate removed.

    Figure 22 illustrates a bottom view of one embodiment of the surgical tool shown in figure 6 with the tool mounting housing and the tool mounting plate removed.

    Figure 23 illustrates a side view of one embodiment of the surgical tool shown in figure 6 with the tool mounting housing and the tool mounting plate removed.

    Figure 24 illustrates a side view of one embodiment of the surgical tool shown in figure 6 with the tool mounting housing and the tool mounting plate removed.

    Figure 25 illustrates a perspective view of one embodiment of a surgical tool that is well-adapted for use with a robotic system.

    Figure 26 illustrates a top view of one embodiment of the surgical tool shown in figure 25.

    Figure 27 illustrates a bottom view of one embodiment of the surgical tool shown in figure 25.

    Figure 28 illustrates a side view of one embodiment of the surgical tool shown in figure 25.

    Figure 29 illustrates a side view of one embodiment of the surgical tool shown in figure 25.

    Figure 30 illustrates a front view of one embodiment of the surgical tool shown in figure 25.

    Figure 31 illustrates a rear view of one embodiment of the surgical tool shown in figure 25.

    Figure 32 illustrates a perspective view of one embodiment of the surgical tool shown in figure 25 with the tool mounting housing removed.

    Figure 33 illustrates a perspective view of one embodiment of the surgical tool shown in figure 25 with the tool mounting housing removed.

    Figure 34 illustrates a perspective view of one embodiment of the tool mounting housing of the surgical tool shown in figure 25.

    Figure 35 illustrates a bottom view of one embodiment of the tool mounting housing of the surgical tool shown in figure 25.

    Figure 36 illustrates a perspective view of one embodiment of the surgical tool shown in figure 25 with the tool mounting housing and tool mounting plate removed.

    Figure 37 illustrates a perspective view of one embodiment of the surgical tool shown in figure 25 with the tool mounting housing and a tool mounting plate removed.

    Figure 38 illustrates a perspective view of one embodiment of the tool mounting plate of the surgical tool shown in figure 25.

    Figure 39 illustrates a bottom view of one embodiment of the tool mounting plate of the surgical tool shown in figure 25.

    Figure 40 illustrates a top view of one embodiment of the surgical tool shown in figure 25 with the tool mounting housing and the tool mounting plate removed.

    Figure 41 illustrates a bottom view of one embodiment of the surgical tool shown in figure 25 with the tool mounting housing and the tool mounting plate removed.

    Figure 42 illustrates a side view of one embodiment of the surgical tool shown in figure 25 with the tool mounting housing and the tool mounting plate removed.

    Figure 43 illustrates a side view of one embodiment of the surgical tool shown in figure 25 with the tool mounting housing and the tool mounting plate removed.

    Figure 44 illustrates a perspective view of one embodiment of a surgical tool that is well-adapted for use with a robotic system.

    Figure 45 illustrates a top view of one embodiment of the surgical tool shown in figure 44.

    Figure 46 illustrates a bottom view of one embodiment of the surgical tool shown in figure 44.

    Figure 47 illustrates a side view of one embodiment of the surgical tool shown in figure 44.

    Figure 48 illustrates a side view of one embodiment of the surgical tool shown in figure 44.

    Figure 49 illustrates a front view of one embodiment of the surgical tool shown in figure 44.

    Figure 50 illustrates a rear view of one embodiment of the surgical tool shown in figure 44.

    Figure 51 illustrates a perspective view of one embodiment of the surgical tool shown in figure 44 with the tool mounting housing removed.

    Figure 52 illustrates a perspective view of one embodiment of the surgical tool shown in figure 44 with the tool mounting housing removed.

    Figure 53 illustrates a perspective view of one embodiment of the tool mounting housing of the surgical tool shown in figure 44.

    Figure 54 illustrates a bottom view of one embodiment of the tool mounting housing of the surgical tool shown in figure 44.

    Figure 55 illustrates a perspective view of one embodiment of the surgical tool shown in figure 44 with the tool mounting housing and tool mounting plate removed.

    Figure 56 illustrates a perspective view of one embodiment of the surgical tool shown in figure 44 with the tool mounting housing and a tool mounting plate removed.

    Figure 57 illustrates a perspective view of one embodiment of the tool mounting plate of the surgical tool shown in figure 44.

    Figure 58 illustrates a bottom view of one embodiment of the tool mounting plate of the surgical tool shown in figure 44.

    Figure 59 illustrates a top view of one embodiment of the surgical tool shown in figure 44 with the tool mounting housing and the tool mounting plate removed.

    Figure 60 illustrates a bottom view of one embodiment of the surgical tool shown in figure 44 with the tool mounting housing and the tool mounting plate removed.

    Figure 61 illustrates a side view of one embodiment of the surgical tool shown in figure 44 with the tool mounting housing and the tool mounting plate removed.

    Figure 62 illustrates a side view of one embodiment of the surgical tool shown in figure 44 with the tool mounting housing and the tool mounting plate removed.

    Figure 63 illustrates a perspective view of one embodiment of a surgical tool that is well-adapted for use with a robotic system.

    Figure 64 illustrates a top view of one embodiment of the surgical tool shown in figure 63.

    Figure 65 illustrates a bottom view of one embodiment of the surgical tool shown in figure 63.

    Figure 66 illustrates a side view of one embodiment of the surgical tool shown in figure 63.

    Figure 67 illustrates a side view of one embodiment of the surgical tool shown in figure 63.

    Figure 68 illustrates a front view of one embodiment of the surgical tool shown in figure 63.

    Figure 69 illustrates a rear view of one embodiment of the surgical tool shown in figure 63.

    Figure 70 illustrates a perspective view of one embodiment of the surgical tool shown in figure 63 with the tool mounting housing removed.

    Figure 71 illustrates a perspective view of one embodiment of the surgical tool shown in figure 63 with the tool mounting housing removed.

    Figure 72 illustrates a perspective view of one embodiment of the tool mounting housing of the surgical tool shown in figure 63.

    Figure 73 illustrates a bottom view of one embodiment of the tool mounting housing of the surgical tool shown in figure 63.

    Figure 74 illustrates a perspective view of one embodiment of the surgical tool shown in figure 63 with the tool mounting housing and tool mounting plate removed.

    Figure 75 illustrates a perspective view of one embodiment of the surgical tool shown in figure 63 with the tool mounting housing and a tool mounting plate removed.

    Figure 76 illustrates a perspective view of one embodiment of the tool mounting plate of the surgical tool shown in figure 63.

    Figure 77 illustrates a bottom view of one embodiment of the tool mounting plate of the surgical tool shown in figure 63.

    Figure 78A illustrates a top view of one embodiment of the surgical tool shown in figure 63 with the tool mounting housing and the tool mounting plate removed.

    Figure 78B illustrates a perspective view of one embodiment of the surgical tool shown in figure 63 with the tool mounting housing, the tool mounting plate removed, and first and second follower arms removed.

    Figure 79 illustrates a bottom view of one embodiment of the surgical tool shown in figure 63 with the tool mounting housing and the tool mounting plate removed.

    Figure 80 illustrates a side view of one embodiment of the surgical tool shown in figure 63 with the tool mounting housing and the tool mounting plate removed.

    Figure 81 illustrates a side view of one embodiment of the surgical tool shown in figure 63 with the tool mounting housing and the tool mounting plate removed.

    Figure 82 illustrates one embodiment of the surgical tool shown in figure 63 with the articulation section articulated to the right.

    Figure 83 illustrates one embodiment of the surgical tool shown in figure 63.

    Figure 84 illustrates one embodiment of the surgical tool shown in figure 63 with the articulation section articulated to the left.

    Figure 85 illustrates one embodiment of the surgical tool shown in figure 63.

    Figure 86 illustrates one embodiment of the surgical tool shown in figure 63 with shaft rotation, clamp jaw open/close mechanism, and knife actuation mechanism.

    Figure 87 illustrates one embodiment of the surgical tool shown in figure 63 with a limit switch in compressed mode.

    Figure 88 illustrates one embodiment of the surgical tool shown in figure 63 with a limit switch free to provide an indication to a controller that a top jaw of a clamp jaw is open and a cutter element is in a proximal position.

    Figure 89 illustrates one embodiment of a surgical tool comprising an internal battery located within a tool mounting portion with a tool mounting housing.

    Figure 90 illustrates one embodiment of the surgical tool shown in figure 89 comprising an internal battery located within a tool mounting portion with the tool mounting housing removed.

    Figure 91 illustrates one embodiment of a surgical tool comprising an internal battery located within a tool mounting portion with a tool mounting housing.

    Figure 92 illustrates a radio frequency (RF) drive and control circuit, according to one embodiment.

    Figure 93 illustrates main components of a controller, according to one embodiment.

    Figure 94 is a signal plot illustrating a switching signals applied to field effect transistors (FETs), a sinusoidal signal representing the measured current or voltage applied to a load, and timings when a synchronous sampling circuit samples the sensed load voltage and load current, according to one embodiment.

    Figure 95 illustrates a drive waveform for driving a field effect transistor (FET) gate drive circuitry, according to one embodiment.

    Figure 96 illustrates a diagram of a digital processing system located on a first substrate, according to one embodiment.

    Figure 97 illustrates an output signal provided to a circuit to discharge a battery.

    Figure 98 illustrates a radio frequency (RF) amplifier section with an output sensing test circuit and magnetic switch element, according to one embodiment.

    Figure 99 illustrates one embodiment of the surgical instrument shown in figure 6 with an articulation section articulated to the left.

    Figure 100 illustrates a perspective view of one embodiment of a shaft assembly comprising an articulation section.

    Figure 101 illustrates a perspective view of a proximal end of the shaft assembly shown in figure 100.

    Figure 102 illustrates a perspective view of a distal end of the shaft assembly shown in figure 100.

    Figure 103 is a detail view of distal and proximal ends of the shaft assembly shown in figure 100.

    Figure 104 is a side view of the shaft assembly shown in figure 100.

    Figure 105 is a side view of the shaft assembly shown in figure 100.

    Figure 106 is a bottom view of the shaft assembly shown in figure 100.

    Figure 107 is a top view of the shaft assembly shown in figure 100.

    Figure 108 illustrates one embodiment of a shaft assembly comprising an articulation section.

    Figure 109 illustrates a distal end of one embodiment of the shaft assembly shown in figure 108.

    Figure 110 illustrates a distal end of one embodiment of the shaft assembly shown in figure 108.

    Figure 111 illustrates a distal end of one embodiment of the shaft assembly shown in figure 108.

    Figure 112 illustrates one embodiment of an end effector that may be employed in a surgical tool.


    DESCRIPTION



    [0008] Before explaining various embodiments of robotically controlled surgical instruments of the present disclosure in detail, it should be noted that the illustrative embodiments are not limited in application or use to the details of construction and arrangement of parts illustrated in the accompanying drawings and description. It will be appreciated that the illustrative embodiments may be implemented or incorporated in other embodiments, variations and modifications, and may be practiced or carried out in various ways. Further, unless otherwise indicated, the terms and expressions employed herein have been chosen for the purpose of describing the illustrative embodiments for the convenience of the reader and are not for the purpose of limitation thereof.

    [0009] Further, it is understood that any one or more of the following-described embodiments, expressions of embodiments, and/or examples, can be combined with any one or more of the other following-described embodiments, expressions of embodiments, and/or examples.

    [0010] The present disclosure provides various embodiments of robotic surgery apparatuses, systems, and methods. In particular, the present disclosure provides various embodiments of robotically controlled surgical instruments. More particularly, the present disclosure provides various embodiments of robotically controlled electrosurgical and/or ultrasonic instruments comprising robotically controlled articulation features for robotically articulating the surgical instrument.

    [0011] For clarity of disclosure, the terms "proximal" and "distal" are defined herein relative to a robotic surgical tool comprising a proximal housing having an interface which mechanically and electrically couples the surgical tool to a robotic manipulator and a distal surgical end effector. The term "proximal" refers the position of an element closer to the housing and the term "distal" refers to the position of an element closer to the surgical end effector and further away from the housing.

    [0012] Many robotic surgical procedures require cutting or ligating blood vessels or other vascular tissue. With minimally invasive robotic surgery, surgical operations are performed through a small incision in the patient's body. As a result of the limited space, often difficulties arise in controlling bleeding when clamping and/or tying-off transected blood vessels. By utilizing electrosurgical forceps, a robotic surgical tool can cauterize, coagulate/desiccate, and/or simply reduce or slow bleeding by robotically controlling the electrosurgical energy applied through jaw members of the robotically controlled electrosurgical forceps, otherwise referred to as clamp arms.

    [0013] Over the years a variety of minimally invasive robotic (or "telesurgical") systems have been developed to increase surgical dexterity as well as to permit a surgeon to operate on a patient in an intuitive manner. Robotic surgical systems can be used with many different types of surgical instruments including, for example, ultrasonic instruments and/or electrosurgical instruments, as described herein. Example robotic systems include those manufactured by Intuitive Surgical, Inc., of Sunnyvale, California, U.S.A. Such systems, as well as robotic systems from other manufacturers, are disclosed in the following U.S. Patents: U.S. Pat. No. 5,792,135, entitled "Articulated Surgical Instrument For Performing Minimally Invasive Surgery With Enhanced Dexterity and Sensitivity", U.S. Patent No. 6,231,565, entitled "Robotic Arm DLUS For Performing Surgical Tasks", U.S. Patent No. 6,783,524, entitled "Robotic Surgical Tool With Ultrasound Cauterizing and Cutting Instrument", U.S. Patent No. 6,364,888, entitled "Alignment of Master and Slave In a Minimally Invasive Surgical Apparatus", U.S. Patent No. 7,524,320, entitled "Mechanical Actuator Interface System For Robotic Surgical Tools", U.S. Patent No. 7,691,098, entitled Platform Link Wrist Mechanism", U.S. Patent No. 7,806,891, entitled "Repositioning and Reorientation of Master/Slave Relationship in Minimally Invasive Telesurgery", and U.S. Patent No. 7,824,401, entitled "Surgical Tool With Writed Monopolar Electrosurgical End Effectors". Many of such systems, however, have in the past been unable to generate the magnitude of forces required to effectively cut and fasten tissue.

    [0014] Figure 1 illustrates one embodiment of a robotic surgical system in block diagram form. Figures 1-5 illustrate the structure and operation of several example robotic surgical systems and components thereof. Figure 1 is a block diagram of an example robotic surgical system 100. The system 100 comprises at least one controller 108 and at least one arm cart 110. The arm cart 110 may be mechanically and/or electrically coupled to one or more robotic manipulators or arms 112. Each of the robotic arms 112 may comprise one or more surgical instruments 114 for performing various surgical tasks on a patient 104. Operation of the arm cart 110, including the arms 112 and instruments 114 may be directed by a clinician 102 from a controller 108. In some embodiments, a second controller 108', operated by a second clinician 102' may also direct operation of the arm cart 110 in conjunction with the first clinician 102'. For example, each of the clinicians 102, 102' may control different arms 112 of the cart or, in some cases, complete control of the arm cart 1010 may be passed between the clinicians 102, 102'. In some embodiments, additional arm carts (not shown) may be utilized on the patient 104. These additional arm carts may be controlled by one or more of the controllers 108, 108'. The arm cart(s) 110 and the controllers 108, 108' may be in communication with one another via a communications link 116, which may be any suitable type of wired or wireless communications link carrying any suitable type of signal (e.g., electrical, optical, infrared, etc.) according to any suitable communications protocol. The communications link 116 may be an actual physical link or it may be a logical link that uses one or more actual physical links. When the link is a logical link the type of physical link may be a data link, uplink, downlink, fiber optic link, point-to-point link, for example, as is well known in the computer networking art to refer to the communications facilities that connect nodes of a network. Example implementations of robotic surgical systems, such as the system 100, are disclosed in U.S. Patent No. 7,524,320. Thus, various particularities of such devices will not be described in detail herein beyond that which may be necessary to understand various embodiments and forms of the various embodiments of robotic surgery apparatuses, systems, and methods disclosed herein.

    [0015] Figure 2 illustrates one embodiment of a master controller that may be used in connection with a robotic arm slave cart of the type depicted in figure 3. In one embodiment, a master controller 202 and a robotic arm slave cart 300, as well as their respective components and control systems are collectively referred to herein as a robotic system 200. Examples of such systems and devices are disclosed in U.S. Patent No. 7,524,320. Thus, various details of such devices will not be described in detail herein beyond that which may be necessary to understand various embodiments and forms of the present invention. As is known, the master controller 202 generally includes master controllers (generally represented as 204 in figure 2), which are grasped by the surgeon and manipulated in space while the surgeon views the procedure via a stereo display 206. The master controllers 202 generally comprise manual input devices which preferably move with multiple degrees of freedom, and which often further have an actuatable handle for actuating tools (for example, for closing grasping saws, applying an electrical potential to an electrode, or the like). Other arrangements may provide the surgeon with a feed back meter 208 that may be viewed through the display 206 and provide the surgeon
    with a visual indication of the amount of force being applied to the cutting instrument or dynamic clamping member. Other sensor arrangements may be employed to provide the master controller 202 with an indication as to whether a staple cartridge has been loaded into the end effector, whether the anvil has been moved to a closed position prior to firing, for example.

    [0016] Figure 3 illustrates one embodiment of robotic arm cart configured to actuate a plurality of surgical tools. As shown in figure 3, in one form, the robotic arm cart 300 is configured to actuate a plurality of surgical tools, generally designated as 302. Various robotic surgery systems and methods employing master controller and robotic arm cart arrangements are disclosed in U.S. Patent No. 6,132,368, entitled "Multi-Component Telepresence System and Method". In various forms, the robotic arm cart 300 includes a base 304 from which, in the illustrated embodiment, three surgical tools 302 are supported. In various forms, the surgical tools 302 are each supported by a series of manually articulatable linkages, generally referred to as set-up joints 306, and a robotic manipulator 308. These structures are herein illustrated with protective covers extending over much of the robotic linkage. These protective covers may be optional, and may be limited in size or entirely eliminated in some embodiments to minimize the inertia that is encountered by the servo mechanisms used to manipulate such devices, to limit the volume of moving components so as to avoid collisions, and to limit the overall weight of the cart 300. The cart 300 will generally have dimensions suitable for transporting the cart 300 between operating rooms. The cart 300 may be configured to typically fit through standard operating room doors and onto standard hospital elevators. In various forms, the cart 300 would preferably have a weight and include a wheel (or other transportation) system that allows the cart 300 to be positioned adjacent an operating table by a single attendant. In various embodiments, an automated reloading system including a base portion may be strategically located within a work envelope 310 of the robotic arm cart 300 of the robotic system 200.

    [0017] Figure 4 illustrates one embodiment of a robotic manipulator that may include a linkage to constrain movement of a surgical tool. Referring now to figure 4, in at least one embodiment, the robotic manipulators 308 may include a linkage 400 that constrains movement of the surgical tool 302. In various embodiments, the linkage 400 includes rigid links coupled together by rotational joints in a parallelogram arrangement so that the surgical tool 302 rotates around a point in space 402, as more fully described in issued U.S. Pat. No. 5,817,084. The parallelogram arrangement constrains rotation to pivoting about an axis 404a, sometimes called the pitch axis. The links supporting the parallelogram linkage are pivotally mounted to set-up joints 306 (figure 3) so that the surgical tool 302 further rotates about an axis 404b, sometimes called the yaw axis. The pitch and yaw axes 404a, 404b intersect at the remote center 406, which is aligned along a shaft 408 of the surgical tool 302. The surgical tool 302 may have further degrees of driven freedom as supported by manipulator 308, including sliding motion of the surgical tool 302 along the longitudinal tool axis "LT-LT". As the surgical tool 302 slides along the tool axis LT-LT relative to the manipulator 308 (arrow 404c), the remote center 406 remains fixed relative to a base 410 of the manipulator 308. Hence, the entire manipulator 308 is generally moved to re-position the remote center 406. The linkage 400 of the manipulator 308 is driven by a series of motors 412. These motors 412 actively move the linkage 400 in response to commands from a processor of a control system. The motors 412 are also may be employed to manipulate the surgical tool 302.

    [0018] Figure 5 illustrates one embodiment of an alternative set-up joint structure. In this embodiment, a surgical tool 302 is supported by an alternative manipulator structure 500 between two tissue manipulation tools. Those of ordinary skill in the art will appreciate that various embodiments of the present invention may incorporate a wide variety of alternative robotic structures, including those described in U.S. Pat. No. 5,878,193, entitled "Automated Endoscope System For Optimal Positioning". Additionally, while the data communication between a robotic component and the processor of the robotic surgical system is primarily described herein with reference to communication between the surgical tool 302 and the master controller 202 (figure 2), it should be understood that similar communication may take place between circuitry of a manipulator, a set-up joint, an endoscope or other image capture device, or the like, and the processor of the robotic surgical system for component compatibility verification, component-type identification, component calibration (such as off-set or the like) communication, confirmation of coupling of the component to the robotic surgical system, or the like.

    [0019] Additional surgical instruments that may be used in the robotic system 200 are described in the following commonly assigned U.S. Patent Applications: (1) U.S. Patent Application Publication No. US 2013-0012957, filed February 9, 2012, entitled "AUTOMATED END EFFECTOR COMPONENT RELOADING SYSTEM FOR USE WITH A ROBOTIC SYSTEM"; (2) U.S. Patent Application Publication No. US 2012-0199630, filed February 9, 2012, entitled "ROBOTICALLY-CONTROLLED SURGICAL INSTRUMENT WITH FORCE-FEEDBACK CAPABILITIES"; (3) U.S. Patent Application Publication No. US 2012-0132450, filed February 9, 2012, entitled "SHIFTABLE DRIVE INTERFACE FOR ROBOTICALLY-CONTROLLED SURGICAL TOOL"; (4) U.S. Patent Application Publication No. US 2012-0199633, filed February 9, 2012, entitled "SURGICAL STAPLING INSTRUMENTS WITH CAM-DRIVEN STAPLE DEPLOYMENT ARRANGEMENTS"; (5) U.S. Patent Application Publication No. US 2012-0199631, filed February 9, 2012, entitled "ROBOTICALLY-CONTROLLED MOTORIZED SURGICAL END EFFECTOR SYSTEM WITH ROTARY ACTUATED CLOSURE SYSTEMS HAVING VARIABLE ACTUATION SPEEDS"; (6) U.S. Patent Application Publication No. US 2012-0199632, filed February 9, 2012, entitled "ROBOTICALLY-CONTROLLED SURGICAL INSTRUMENT WITH SELECTIVELY ARTICULATABLE END EFFECTOR"; (7) U.S. Patent Application Publication No. US 2012-0203247, filed February 9, 2012, entitled "ROBOTICALLY-CONTROLLED SURGICAL END EFFECTOR SYSTEM"; (8) U.S. Patent Application Publication No. US 2012-0211546, filed February 9, 2012, entitled "DRIVE INTERFACE FOR OPERATIVELY COUPLING A MANIPULATABLE SURGICAL TOOL TO A ROBOT"; (9) U.S. Patent Application Publication No. US 2012-0138660, filed February 9, 2012, entitled "ROBOTICALLY-CONTROLLED CABLE-BASED SURGICAL END EFFECTORS"; and (10) U.S. Patent Application Publication No. US 2012-0205421, filed February 9, 2012, entitled "ROBOTICALLY-CONTROLLED SURGICAL END EFFECTOR SYSTEM WITH ROTARY ACTUATED CLOSURE SYSTEMS".

    [0020] Figures 6-12 illustrate one embodiment of a surgical tool 600 that is well-adapted for use with the robotic system 200 (figure 2) that has a tool drive assembly that is operatively coupled to a master controller 202 (figure 2) that is operable by inputs from an operator (i.e., a surgeon). As shown in figure 6, in one embodiment the surgical tool 600 comprises a surgical end effector 602 (e.g., clamp jaw 602) that comprises medical forceps having a movable jaw member and a cutting blade coupled to an inner sheath located within an elongate shaft assembly 608 that are controlled by the robotic system 200. The movable jaw member comprises a top jaw 604 and a bottom jaw 606. A center slot 628 is provided for slidably receiving a cutting element (e.g., blade, knife) therein. In one embodiment, the cutting element is shaped like an "I-beam" as disclosed in U.S. Pat. App. No. 13/235,660 ("'660 Application") entitled "Articulation Joint Features For Articulating Surgical Device," filed September 19, 2011 published as US2012/0078247. Various examples of end effectors including firing beams and operation thereof also are described in the '660 Application. In one embodiment, the surgical tool 600 comprises an elongated shaft assembly 608 that has an elongate tube portion 610 and a distal articulation section 612. The surgical tool 600 is operatively coupled to the manipulator 308 (figures 3-5) by a tool mounting portion 614. The surgical tool 600 further comprises an interface 616, which mechanically and electrically couples the tool mounting portion 614 to the manipulator 308.

    [0021] In various embodiments, the tool mounting portion 614 comprises a tool mounting housing 626 and a tool mounting plate 618 that operatively supports a plurality of rotatable body portions, driven discs or elements 620 (four are shown in figure 8), that each include a pair of pins 622 that extend from a surface of the driven element 620. One pin 622 is closer to an axis of rotation of each driven element 620 than the other pin 622 on the same driven element 620, which helps to ensure positive angular alignment of the driven element 620. The interface 616 comprises an adaptor portion that is configured to mountingly engage the mounting plate 618 as will be further discussed below. In one embodiment, an adaptor portion may include an array of electrical connecting pins, which may be coupled to a memory structure by a circuit board within the tool mounting portion 614. While the interface 616 is described herein with reference to mechanical, electrical, and magnetic coupling elements, it should be understood that a wide variety of telemetry modalities might be used, including infrared, inductive coupling, or the like. An electrical cable 624 and strain relief 654 are provided to electrically couple the surgical tool 600 to a generator, which may be an ultrasonic energy source, a radio frequency RF energy source, or a combination thereof. In some embodiments, the generators and energy sources as disclosed in commonly assigned U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 61/550,768, filed on October 24, 2011, not published, and entitled "MEDICAL INSTRUMENT," ("'768 Application"), may be electrically coupled to the surgical tool 600.

    [0022] In one embodiment, the surgical tool 600 provides bipolar RF energy, articulation of the elongate shaft for better access to vessels and tissue, vessel sealing, low thermal spreading, and uniform compression for improved hemostatis, among other features. As described in more detail with reference to figures 13-24, the surgical tool 600 provides gearing mechanisms to obtain independent movements of the articulation section 612 of the shaft assembly 608, the top jaw 604 portion of the end effector 602, the cutting element, and rotation of the shaft assembly 608, among other movements. In one embodiment, the tool mounting housing 626 also may comprise an electronic circuit board with electronic elements to identify the surgical tool 600. In one embodiment, the tool mounting housing 626 also may comprise an internal battery, as shown in figure 89 and 90, for example, to generate sufficient energy to cauterize, coagulate/desiccate, and/or simply reduce or slow bleeding of tissue such as a vessel. Such battery energized circuits are described in the '768 Application.

    [0023] For clarity of disclosure, in figures 13 and 14 the surgical tool 600 is illustrated with the tool mounting housing 626 removed. For further clarity of disclosure, in figures 17, 18, and 21-24 the surgical tool 600 is illustrated with the tool mounting housing 626 and the tool mounting plate 618 removed. A detailed view of the tool mounting housing 626 and the tool mounting plate 618 are shown in figures 15, 16 and 19, 20, respectively.

    [0024] The surgical tool 600 will now be described with reference to figures 6-24. Accordingly, in one embodiment, the surgical tool 600 comprises a coupler 630 to couple the shaft assembly 608 to the tool mounting portion 614. A top shaft holder 632 and a bottom shaft holder 634 rotatably couple the shaft assembly 608 to the tool mounting housing 626.

    [0025] In one embodiment, the tool mounting portion 614 of the surgical tool 600 comprises a shaft assembly 608 articulation mechanism, a shaft assembly 608 rotation mechanism, a clamp jaw 602 open/close mechanism, and a knife actuation mechanism. In one embodiment, the rotatable bodies 621 (e.g., rotatable spools) are coupled to the driven elements 620. The rotatable bodies 621 may be formed integrally with the driven elements 620. In some embodiments, the rotatable bodies 621 may be formed separately from the driven elements 620 provided that the rotatable bodies 621 and the driven elements 620 are fixedly coupled such that driving the driven elements 620 causes rotation of the rotatable bodies 621. Each of the rotatable bodies 621 is coupled to a gear train or gear mechanism to provide shaft articulation and rotation and clamp jaw open/close and knife actuation.

    [0026] In one embodiment, the tool mounting portion 614 of the surgical tool 600 comprises a shaft assembly 608 articulation mechanism. In the illustrated embodiment, for example, the surgical tool 600 comprises a rack and pinion gearing mechanism to provide shaft articulation functionality. In one embodiment, the rack and pinion gearing mechanism comprises a first pinion gear 636 coupled to a rotatable body 621 such that rotation of the corresponding driven element 620 causes the first pinion gear 636 to rotate. A bearing 660 (figure 17) is coupled to the rotatable body 621 and is provided between the driven element 620 and the first pinion gear 636. The first pinion gear 636 is meshed to a first rack gear 650 to convert the rotational motion of the first pinion gear 636 into linear motion of the first rack gear 650 to control the articulation of the articulation section 612 of the shaft assembly 608 in a left direction 658L (see also figure 99). The first rack gear 650 is attached to a first articulation band 651 (figures 9, 13, 21, 22, and 102, 103, 106, 107) such that linear motion of the first rack gear 650 in a distal direction causes the articulation section 612 of the shaft assembly 608 to articulate in the left direction 658L. A second pinion gear 638 is coupled to another rotatable body 621 such that rotation of the corresponding driven element 620 causes the second pinion gear 638 to rotate. A bearing 660 is coupled to the rotatable body 621 and is provided between the driven element 620 and the second pinion gear 638. The second pinion gear 638 is meshed to a second rack gear 652 to convert the rotational motion of the second pinion gear 638 into linear motion of the second rack gear 652 to control the articulation of the articulation section 612 in a right direction 658R. The second rack gear 652 is attached to a second articulation band 653 (figures 10, 14, 21, 22, 106, 107) such that linear motion of the second rack gear 652 in a distal direction causes the articulation section 612 of the shaft assembly 608 to articulate in the right direction 658R. Additional bearings may be provided between the rotatable bodies and the corresponding gears. Any suitable bearings may be provided to support and stabilize the mounting and reduce rotary friction of shaft and gears, for example.

    [0027] In one embodiment, the tool mounting portion 614 of the surgical tool 600 comprises a shaft assembly 608 rotation mechanism. In the illustrated embodiment, for example, the surgical tool 600 comprises a first spiral worm gear 644 coupled to a rotatable body 621 and a second spiral worm gear 646 coupled to the shaft assembly 608. A bearing 660 (figure 17) is coupled to a rotatable body 621 and is provided between a driven element 620 and the first spiral worm gear 644. The first spiral worm gear 644 is meshed to the second spiral worm gear 646, which is coupled to the shaft assembly 608, to control the rotation of the shaft assembly 608 in a clockwise (CW) and counter-clockwise (CCW) direction based on the rotational direction of the first and second spiral worm gears 644, 646. Accordingly, rotation of the first spiral worm gear 644 about a first axis is converted to rotation of the second spiral worm gear 646 about a second axis, which is orthogonal to the first axis. As shown in figures 13 and 14, for example, a CW rotation of the second spiral worm gear 646 results in a CW rotation of the shaft assembly 608 in the direction indicated by 662CW. A CCW rotation of the second spiral worm gear 646 results in a CCW rotation of the shaft assembly 608 in the direction indicated by 662CCW. Additional bearings may be provided between the rotatable bodies and the corresponding gears. Any suitable bearings may be provided to support and stabilize the mounting and reduce rotary friction of shaft and gears, for example.

    [0028] In one embodiment, the tool mounting portion 614 of the surgical tool 600 comprises a clamp jaw 602 open/close mechanism and a knife actuation mechanism. In the illustrated embodiment, for example, the surgical tool 600 comprises a rack and pinion gearing mechanism to provide the clamp jaw 602 open/close and knife actuation functionality. In the illustrated embodiment, a first gear 640 is coupled to a rotatable body 621 such that rotation of the corresponding driven element 620 causes the first gear 640 to rotate in a first direction. A second gear 642 is free to rotate about a post 656 formed in the tool mounting plate 618. The first gear 640 is meshed to the second gear 642 such that the second gear 642 rotates in a direction that is opposite of the first gear 640. In one embodiment, the gear mechanism comprising the first and second gears 640, 642 is configured to control the opening and closing the top jaw 804 of the clamp jaw 602 and movement of an "I-beam" shaped cutting element through the slot 628 formed in the clamp jaw 602. In one embodiment, the second gear 642 is a pinion gear meshed to a rack gear 649, which moves in a liner direction. The rack gear 649 is coupled to a close/open block 648, which is coupled to a distal portion of the shaft assembly 608. As the rack gear 649 moves in a distal direction, the "I-beam" shaped cutting element advances and closes the top jaw 604 portion of the clamp jaw 602. As the rack gear 649 moves in a proximal direction, the "I-beam" shaped cutting element retracts to enable the top jaw 604 portion of the clamp jaw 602 to open. A description of one embodiment of an "I-beam" shaped cutting element is provided in the '660 Application.

    [0029] Figures 25-31 illustrate one embodiment of a surgical tool 700 that is well-adapted for use with the robotic system 200 (figure 2) that has a tool drive assembly that is operatively coupled to a master controller 202 (figure 2) that is operable by inputs from an operator (i.e., a surgeon). As shown in figure 25, the surgical tool 700 comprises a surgical end effector 702 (e.g., clamp jaw 702) that comprises medical forceps having a movable jaw member and a cutting blade coupled to an inner sheath located within an elongate shaft assembly 708 that are controlled by the robotic system 200. The movable jaw member comprises a top jaw 704 and a bottom jaw 706. A center slot 728 is provided for slidably receiving a cutting element (e.g., blade, knife) therein. In one embodiment, the cutting element is shaped like an "I-beam" as disclosed in the '660 Application. In one embodiment, the surgical tool 700 comprises an elongated shaft assembly 708 that has an elongate tube portion 710 and a distal articulation section 712. The surgical tool 700 is operatively coupled to the manipulator 308 (figures 3-5) by a tool mounting portion 714. The surgical tool 700 further comprises an interface 716, which mechanically and electrically couples the tool mounting portion 714 to the manipulator 308.

    [0030] In various embodiments, the tool mounting portion 714 comprises a tool mounting housing 726 and a tool mounting plate 718 that operatively supports a plurality of rotatable body portions, driven discs or elements 720 (four are shown in figure 27), that each include a pair of pins 722 (figure 27) that extend from a surface of the driven element 720. One pin 722 is closer to an axis of rotation of each driven element 720 than the other pin 722 on the same driven element 720, which helps to ensure positive angular alignment of the driven element 720. The interface 716 comprises an adaptor portion that is configured to mountingly engage the mounting plate 718 as will be further discussed below. In one embodiment, an adaptor portion may include an array of electrical connecting pins, which may be coupled to a memory structure by a circuit board within the tool mounting portion 714. While the interface 716 is described herein with reference to mechanical, electrical, and magnetic coupling elements, it should be understood that a wide variety of telemetry modalities might be used, including infrared, inductive coupling, or the like. An electrical cable 724 and strain relief 754 are provided to electrically couple the surgical tool 700 to a generator, which may be an ultrasonic energy source, an RF energy source, or a combination thereof. In some embodiments, the generators and energy sources as disclosed in the '768 Application may be electrically coupled to the surgical tool 700.

    [0031] In one embodiment, the surgical tool 700 provides bipolar RF energy, articulation of the elongate shaft for better access to vessels and tissue, vessel sealing, low thermal spreading, and uniform compression for improved hemostatis, among other features. As described in more detail with reference to figures 32-43, the surgical tool 700 provides gearing mechanisms to obtain independent movements of the articulation section 712 of the shaft assembly 708, the top jaw 704 portion of the end effector 702, the cutting element, and rotation of the shaft assembly 708, among other movements. In one embodiment, the tool mounting housing 726 also may comprise an electronic circuit board with electronic elements to identify the surgical tool 700. In one embodiment, the tool mounting housing 726 also may comprise an internal battery, as shown in figure 89 and 90, for example, to generate sufficient energy to cauterize, coagulate/desiccate, and/or simply reduce or slow bleeding of tissue such as a vessel. Such battery energized circuits are described in the '768 Application.

    [0032] For clarity of disclosure, in figures 32 and 33 the surgical tool 700 is illustrated with the tool mounting housing 726 removed. For further clarity of disclosure, in figures 36, 37, and 40-43 the surgical tool 700 is illustrated with both the tool mounting housing 726 and the tool mounting plate 718 removed. Detailed views of the tool mounting housing 726 and the tool mounting plate 718 are shown in figures 34, 35 and 38, 39, respectively.

    [0033] The surgical tool 700 will now be described with reference to figures 25-43. Accordingly, in one embodiment, the surgical tool 700 comprises a coupler 730 to couple the shaft assembly 708 to the tool mounting portion 714. A top shaft holder similar to the top shaft holder 632 (figures 13, 14) and a bottom shaft holder similar to the bottom shaft holder 634 (figures 13, 14) rotatably couple the shaft assembly 708 to the tool mounting housing 726.

    [0034] In one embodiment, the tool mounting portion 714 of the surgical tool 700 comprises a shaft assembly 708 articulation mechanism, a shaft assembly 708 rotation mechanism, a clamp jaw 702 open/close mechanism, and a knife actuation mechanism. In one embodiment, the rotatable bodies 721 (e.g., rotatable spools) are coupled to the driven elements 720. The rotatable bodies 721 may be formed integrally with the driven elements 720. In some embodiments, the rotatable bodies 721 may be formed separately from the driven elements 720 provided that the rotatable bodies 721 and the driven elements 720 are fixedly coupled such that driving the driven elements 720 causes rotation of the rotatable bodies 721. Each of the rotatable bodies 721 is coupled to a gear train or gear mechanism to provide shaft articulation and rotation and clamp jaw open/close and knife actuation.

    [0035] In one embodiment, the tool mounting portion 714 of the surgical tool 700 comprises a shaft assembly 708 articulation mechanism. In the illustrated embodiment, for example, the surgical tool 700 comprises a rack and pinion mechanism to provide shaft articulation functionality. In one embodiment, the rack and pinion gearing mechanism comprises a first pinion gear 736 coupled to a rotatable body 721 such that rotation of the corresponding driven element 720 causes the first pinion gear 736 to rotate. A bearing 760 (figure 36) is coupled to the rotatable body 721 and is provided between the driven element 720 and the first pinion gear 736. The first pinion gear 736 is meshed to a first rack gear 750 to convert the rotational motion of the first pinion gear 736 into linear motion of the first rack gear 750 to control the articulation of the articulation section 712 of the shaft assembly 708 in a left direction 758L. The first rack gear 750 is attached to a first articulation band 751 such that linear motion of the first rack gear 750 in a distal direction causes the articulation section 712 of the shaft assembly 708 to articulate in the left direction 758L. A second pinion gear 738 is coupled to another rotatable body 721 such that rotation of the corresponding driven element 720 causes the second pinion gear 738 to rotate. A bearing 760 is coupled to the rotatable body 721 and is provided between the driven element 720 and the second pinion gear 738. The second pinion gear 738 is meshed to a second rack gear 752 to convert the rotational motion of the second pinion gear 738 into linear motion of the second rack gear 752 to control the articulation of the articulation section 712 of the shaft assembly 708 in a right direction 758R. The second rack gear 752 is attached to a second articulation band 753 such that linear motion of the second rack gear 752 in a distal direction causes the articulation section 712 of the shaft assembly 708 to articulate in the right direction 758R. Additional bearings may be provided between the rotatable bodies and the corresponding gears. Any suitable bearings may be provided to support and stabilize the mounting and reduce rotary friction of shaft and gears, for example.

    [0036] In one embodiment, the tool mounting portion 714 of the surgical tool 700 comprises a shaft assembly 708 rotation mechanism. In the illustrated embodiment, for example, the surgical tool 700 comprises a first spiral worm gear 766 coupled to a second spiral worm gear 764, which is coupled to a third spiral worm gear 744. Such an arrangement is provided for various reasons including maintaining compatibility with existing robotic systems 200 and/or where space may be limited. The first spiral worm gear 766 is coupled to a rotatable body 721. The third spiral worm gear 744 is meshed with a fourth spiral worm gear 746 coupled to the shaft assembly 708. A bearing 760 (figure 37) is coupled to a rotatable body 721 and is provided between a driven element 720 and the first spiral worm gear 738. Another bearing 760 is coupled to a rotatable body 721 and is provided between a driven element 720 and the third spiral worm gear 766. The third spiral worm gear 766 is meshed to the fourth spiral worm gear 746, which is coupled to the shaft assembly 708, to control the rotation of the shaft assembly 708 in a CW and a CCW direction based on the rotational direction of the spiral worm gears 744, 746. Accordingly, rotation of the third spiral worm gear 744 about a first axis is converted to rotation of the fourth spiral worm gear 746 about a second axis, which is orthogonal to the first axis. As shown in figures 32, 33, for example, a CW rotation of the fourth spiral worm gear 746 results in a CW rotation of the shaft assembly 708 in the direction indicated by 762CW. A CCW rotation of the fourth spiral worm gear 746 results in a CCW rotation of the shaft assembly 708 in the direction indicated by 762CCW. Additional bearings may be provided between the rotatable bodies and the corresponding gears. Any suitable bearings may be provided to support and stabilize the mounting and reduce rotary friction of shaft and gears, for example.

    [0037] In one embodiment, the tool mounting portion 714 of the surgical tool 700 comprises a clamp jaw 702 open/close mechanism and a knife actuation mechanism. In the illustrated embodiment, for example, the surgical tool 700 comprises a rack and pinion gearing mechanism to provide the clamp jaw 702 open/close and knife actuation functionality. In one embodiment, a third pinion gear 740 is coupled to a rotatable body 721 such that rotation of the corresponding driven element 720 causes the third pinion gear 740 to rotate in a first direction. The third pinion gear 740 is meshed to a rack gear 749, which moves in a linear direction. The rack gear 749 is coupled to a close/open block 748, which is coupled to a distal portion of the shaft assembly 708. In one embodiment, the gear mechanism comprising the pinion gear 740 is configured to control the opening and closing of the clamp jaw 702 and movement of an "I-beam" shaped cutting element through the slot 728 formed in the clamp jaw 702. As the rack gear 749 moves in a distal direction, the "I-beam" shaped cutting element advances and closes the top jaw 704 portion of the clamp jaw 702. As the rack gear 749 moves in a proximal direction, the "I-beam" shaped cutting element retracts and enables the top jaw 704 portion of the clamp jaw 702 to open. A description of one embodiment of an "I-beam" shaped cutting element is provided in the '660 Application.

    [0038] Figures 44-50 illustrate one embodiment of a surgical tool 800 that is well-adapted for use with the robotic system 200 (figure 2) that has a tool drive assembly that is operatively coupled to a master controller 202 (figure 2) that is operable by inputs from an operator (i.e., a surgeon). As shown in figure 44, the surgical tool 800 comprises a surgical end effector 802 (e.g., clamp jaw 802) that comprises medical forceps having a movable jaw member and a cutting blade coupled to an inner sheath located within an elongate shaft assembly 808 that are controlled by the robotic system 200. The movable jaw member comprises a top jaw 804 and a bottom jaw 806. A center slot 828 is provided for slidably receiving a cutting element (e.g., blade, knife) therein. In one embodiment, the cutting element is shaped like an "I-beam" as disclosed in the '660 Application. In one embodiment, the surgical tool 800 comprises an elongated shaft assembly 808 that has an elongate tube portion 810 and a distal articulation section 812. The surgical tool 800 is operatively coupled to the manipulator 308 (figures 3-5) by a tool mounting portion 814. The surgical tool 800 further comprises an interface 816, which mechanically and electrically couples the tool mounting portion 814 to the manipulator 308.

    [0039] In various embodiments, the tool mounting portion 814 comprises a tool mounting housing 826 and a tool mounting plate 818 that operatively supports a plurality of rotatable body portions, driven discs or elements 820 (four are shown in figure 46), that each include a pair of pins 822 (figure 46) that extend from a surface of the driven element 820. One pin 822 is closer to an axis of rotation of each driven element 820 than the other pin 822 on the same driven element 820, which helps to ensure positive angular alignment of the driven element 820. The interface 816 comprises an adaptor portion that is configured to mountingly engage the mounting plate 818 as will be further discussed below. In one embodiment, an adaptor portion may include an array of electrical connecting pins, which may be coupled to a memory structure by a circuit board within the tool mounting portion 814. While the interface 816 is described herein with reference to mechanical, electrical, and magnetic coupling elements, it should be understood that a wide variety of telemetry modalities might be used, including infrared, inductive coupling, or the like. An electrical cable 824 and strain relief 854 are provided to electrically couple the surgical tool 800 to a generator, which may be an ultrasonic energy source, an RF energy source, or a combination thereof. In some embodiments, the generators and energy sources as disclosed in the '768 Application may be electrically coupled to the surgical tool 800.

    [0040] In one embodiment, the surgical tool 800 provides bipolar RF energy, articulation of the elongate shaft for better access to vessels and tissue, vessel sealing, low thermal spreading, and uniform compression for improved hemostatis, among other features. As described in more detail with reference to figures 51-62, the surgical tool 800 provides gearing mechanisms to obtain independent movements of the articulation section 812 of the shaft assembly 808, the top jaw 804 portion of the end effector 802, the cutting element, and rotation of the shaft assembly 808, among other movements. In one embodiment, the tool mounting housing 826 also may comprise an electronic circuit board with electronic elements to identify the surgical tool 800. In one embodiment, the tool mounting housing 826 also may comprise an internal battery, as shown in figure 89 and 90, for example, to generate sufficient energy to cauterize, coagulate/desiccate, and/or simply reduce or slow bleeding of tissue such as a vessel. Such battery energized circuits are described in the '768 Application.

    [0041] For clarity of disclosure, in figures 51 and 52 the surgical tool 800 is illustrated with the tool mounting housing 826 removed. For further clarity of disclosure, in figures 55, 56, and 59-62 the surgical tool 800 is illustrated with both the tool mounting housing 826 and the tool mounting plate 818 removed. Detailed views of the tool mounting housing 826 and the tool mounting plate 818 are shown in figures 53, 54 and 57, 58, respectively.

    [0042] The surgical tool 800 will now be described with reference to figures 44-62. Accordingly, in one embodiment, the surgical tool 800 comprises a coupler 830 to couple the shaft assembly 808 to the tool mounting portion 814. A coupler 830 and a bushing 831 rotatably couple the shaft assembly 808 to the tool mounting housing 826.

    [0043] In one embodiment, the tool mounting portion 814 of the surgical tool 800 comprises a shaft assembly 808 articulation mechanism, a shaft assembly 808 rotation mechanism, a clamp jaw 802 open/close mechanism, and a knife actuation mechanism. In one embodiment, the rotatable bodies 821 (e.g., rotatable spools) are coupled to the driven elements 820. The rotatable bodies 821 may be formed integrally with the driven elements 820. In some embodiments, the rotatable bodies 821 may be formed separately from the driven elements 820 provided that the rotatable bodies 821 and the driven elements 820 are fixedly coupled such that driving the driven elements 820 causes rotation of the rotatable bodies 821. Each of the rotatable bodies 821 is coupled to a gear train or gear mechanism to provide shaft articulation and rotation and clamp jaw open/close and knife actuation.

    [0044] In one embodiment, the tool mounting portion 814 of the surgical tool 800 comprises a shaft assembly 808 articulation mechanism. In the illustrated embodiment, for example, the surgical tool 800 comprises a rack and pinion gearing mechanism to provide shaft articulation functionality. In one embodiment, the rack and pinion gearing mechanism comprises a first pinion gear 836 coupled to a rotatable body 821 such that rotation of the corresponding driven element 820 causes the first pinion gear 836 to rotate. The first pinion gear 836 is meshed to a first rack gear 850 to convert the rotational motion of the first pinion gear 836 into linear motion of the first rack gear 850 to control the articulation of the articulation section 812 of the shaft assembly 808 in a left direction 858L. The first rack gear 850 is attached to a first articulation band 851 such that linear motion of the first rack gear 850 in a distal direction causes the articulation section 812 of the shaft assembly 808 to articulate in the left direction 858L. A second pinion gear 838 is coupled to another rotatable body 821 such that rotation of the corresponding driven element 820 causes the second pinion gear 838 to rotate. The second pinion gear 838 is meshed to a second rack gear 852 to convert the rotational motion of the second pinion gear 838 into linear motion of the second rack gear 852 to control the articulation of the articulation section 812 of the shaft assembly 808 in a right direction 858R. The second rack gear 852 is attached to a second articulation band 853 such that linear motion of the second rack gear 852 in a distal direction causes the articulation section 812 of the shaft assembly 808 to articulate in the right direction 858R.

    [0045] In one embodiment, the tool mounting portion 814 of the surgical tool 800 comprises a shaft assembly 808 rotation mechanism. In the illustrated embodiment, for example, the surgical tool 800 comprises a first gear 844 coupled to a rotatable body 821, a fixed post 868 comprising first and second openings 870, first and second rotatable pins 874 coupled to the shaft assembly, and a cable 872 (or rope). The cable is wrapped around the rotatable body 821. One end of the cable 872 is located through a top opening 870 of the fixed post 868 and fixedly coupled to a top rotatable pin 874. Another end of the cable 872 is located through a bottom opening 870 of the fixed post 868 and fixedly coupled to a bottom rotating pin 874. Such an arrangement is provided for various reasons including maintaining compatibility with existing robotic systems 200 and/or where space may be limited. Accordingly, rotation of the rotatable body 821 causes the rotation of the shaft assembly 808, to control the rotation of the shaft assembly 808 in a CW and a CCW direction based on the rotational direction of the rotatable body 821. Accordingly, rotation of the rotatable body 821 about a first axis is converted to rotation of the shaft assembly 808 about a second axis, which is orthogonal to the first axis. As shown in figures 51, 52, for example, a CW rotation of the rotatable body 821 results in a CW rotation of the shaft assembly 808 in the direction indicated by 862CW. A CCW rotation of the rotatable body 821 results in a CCW rotation of the shaft assembly 808 in the direction indicated by 862CCW. Additional bearings may be provided between the rotatable bodies and the corresponding gears. Any suitable bearings may be provided to support and stabilize the mounting and reduce rotary friction of shaft and gears, for example.

    [0046] In one embodiment, the tool mounting portion 814 of the surgical tool 800 comprises a clamp jaw 802 open/close mechanism and a knife actuation mechanism. In the illustrated embodiment, for example, the surgical tool 800 comprises a rack and pinion mechanism to provide the clamp jaw 802 open/close and knife actuation functionality. In one embodiment, a third pinion gear 840. The third pinion gear 840 is coupled to a rotatable body 821 such that rotation of the corresponding driven element 820 causes the third pinion gear 840 to rotate in a first direction. The third pinion gear 840 is meshed to a rack gear 849, which moves in a linear direction. The rack gear 849 is coupled to a close/open block 848, which is coupled to a distal portion of the shaft assembly 808. In one embodiment, the gear mechanism comprising the pinion gear 840 is configured to control the opening and closing of the top jaw 804 portion of the clamp jaw 802 and movement of an "I-beam" shaped cutting element through the slot 828 formed in the clamp jaw 802. As the rack gear 849 moves in a distal direction, the "I-beam" shaped cutting element advances and closes the top jaw 804 portion of the clamp jaw 802. As the rack gear 849 moves in a proximal direction, the "I-beam" shaped cutting element retracts and enables the top jaw 804 portion of the clamp jaw 802 to open. A description of one embodiment of an "I-beam" shaped cutting element is provided in the '660 Application.

    [0047] Figures 63-68 illustrate one embodiment of a surgical tool 900 that is well-adapted for use with the robotic system 200 (figure 2) that has a tool drive assembly that is operatively coupled to a master controller 202 (figure 2) that is operable by inputs from an operator (i.e., a surgeon). As shown in figure 63, the surgical tool 900 comprises a surgical end effector 902 (e.g., clamp jaw 902) that comprises medical forceps having a movable jaw member and a cutting blade coupled to an inner sheath located within an elongate shaft assembly 908 that are controlled by the robotic system 200. The movable jaw member comprises a top jaw 904 and a bottom jaw 906. A center slot 928 is provided for slidably receiving a cutting element (e.g., blade, knife) therein. In one embodiment, the cutting element is shaped like an "I-beam" as disclosed in the '660 Application. In one embodiment, the surgical tool 900 comprises an elongated shaft assembly 908 that has an elongate tube portion 910 and a distal articulation section 912. The surgical tool 900 is operatively coupled to the manipulator 308 (figures 3-5) by a tool mounting portion 914. The surgical tool 900 further comprises an interface 916, which mechanically and electrically couples the tool mounting portion 914 to the manipulator 308.

    [0048] In various embodiments, the tool mounting portion 914 comprises a tool mounting housing 926 and a tool mounting plate 918 that operatively supports a plurality of rotatable body portions, driven discs or elements 920, and a fixed disc or element 990 (three driven and one fixed are shown in figure 65). The driven elements 920 each include a pair of pins 922 (figure 65) extending from a surface of the driven element 920. One pin 922 is closer to an axis of rotation of each driven element 920 than the other pin 922 on the same driven element 920, which helps to ensure positive angular alignment of the driven element 920. A fixed element 990 includes two pins 992. The interface 916 comprises an adaptor portion that is configured to mountingly engage the mounting plate 918 as will be further discussed below. In one embodiment, an adaptor portion may include an array of electrical connecting pins, which may be coupled to a memory structure by a circuit board within the tool mounting portion 914. While the interface 916 is described herein with reference to mechanical, electrical, and magnetic coupling elements, it should be understood that a wide variety of telemetry modalities might be used, including infrared, inductive coupling, or the like. An electrical cable 924 and strain relief 954 are provided to electrically couple the surgical tool 800 to a generator, which may be an ultrasonic energy source, an RF energy source, or a combination thereof. In some embodiments, the generators and energy sources as disclosed in the '768 Application may be electrically coupled to the surgical tool 900. The power cable 924 exiting the back of the tool mounting housing 926 can be connected to a power (control module) during operations. As shown in figure 91, an electronic circuit board 1102 can be mounted within the tool mounting portion 914 or the interface 916 to provide feedback controls.

    [0049] In one embodiment, the surgical tool 900 provides bipolar RF energy, articulation of the elongate shaft for better access to vessels and tissue, vessel sealing, low thermal spreading, and uniform compression for improved hemostatis, among other features. As described in more detail with reference to figures 70-88, the surgical tool 900 provides gearing mechanisms to obtain independent movements of the articulation section 912 of the shaft assembly 908, the top jaw 904 portion of the end effector 902, the cutting element, and rotation of the shaft assembly 908, among other movements. In one embodiment, the tool mounting housing 926 also may comprise an electronic circuit board with electronic elements to identify the surgical tool 900. In one embodiment, the tool mounting housing 926 also may comprise an internal battery, as shown in figure 91, for example, to generate sufficient energy to cauterize, coagulate/desiccate, and/or simply reduce or slow bleeding of tissue such as a vessel. Such battery energized circuits are described in the '768 Application.

    [0050] For clarity of disclosure, in figures 70 and 71 the surgical tool 900 is illustrated with the tool mounting housing 926 removed. For further clarity of disclosure, in figures 74, 75, and 78-81 the surgical tool 900 is illustrated with both the tool mounting housing 926 and the tool mounting plate 918 removed. Detailed views of the tool mounting housing 926 and the tool mounting plate 918 are shown in figures 72, 73 and 76, 77 respectively.

    [0051] The surgical tool 900 will now be described with reference to figures 63-88. Accordingly, in one embodiment, the surgical tool 900 comprises a coupler 930 to couple the shaft assembly 908 to the tool mounting portion 914. A coupler 930 and a bushing 931 rotatably couple the shaft assembly 908 to the tool mounting housing 926.

    [0052] In one embodiment, the tool mounting portion 914 of the surgical tool 900 comprises a shaft assembly 908 articulation mechanism, a shaft assembly 908 rotation mechanism, a clamp jaw 902 open/close mechanism, and a knife actuation mechanism. In one embodiment, the rotatable bodies 921 (e.g., rotatable spools) are coupled to the driven elements 920. The rotatable bodies 921 may be formed integrally with the driven elements 920. In some embodiments, the rotatable bodies 921 may be formed separately from the driven elements 920 provided that the rotatable bodies 921 and the driven elements 920 are fixedly coupled such that driving the driven elements 920 causes rotation of the rotatable bodies 921. In one embodiment, some of the rotatable bodies 921 are coupled to a double cam mechanism to provide shaft articulation and other rotatable bodies may be coupled to a gear train or gear mechanism to provided shaft rotation and clamp jaw open/close and knife actuation.

    [0053] In one embodiment, the tool mounting portion 914 of the surgical tool 900 comprises a shaft assembly 908 articulation mechanism. In the illustrated embodiment according to the invention, the surgical tool 900 comprises a double cam mechanism 984 to provide the shaft articulation functionality. In one embodiment, the double cam mechanism 984 comprises first and second cam portions 954A, 954B. First and second follower arms 986, 988 are pivotally coupled to corresponding pivot spools 982. As the rotatable body 921 coupled to the double cam mechanism 984 rotates, the first cam portion 984A acts on the first follower arm 986 and the second cam portion 984B acts on the second follower arm 988. As the cam mechanism 984 rotates the follower arms 986, 988 pivot about the pivot spools 982. The first follower arm 986 is attached to the first articulation band 951 and the second follower arm 988 is attached to the second articulation band 983. As the top cam portion 954A acts of the first follower arm 986, the shaft assembly 908 articulates in a left direction 958L. As the bottom cam portion 954B acts of the second follower arm 988, the shaft assembly 908 articulates in a right direction 958R. The first and second follower arms 986, 988 (or levers) are mounted on the shaft within the tool mounting portion 914 and are connected to the articulating bands (wires) coming from the distal end of the shaft assembly 908. Two separate bushings 983, 985 are mounted beneath the respective first and second follower arms 986, 988 to allow the rotation of the shaft without affecting the articulating positions of the first and second follower arms 986, 988. For articulation motion, these bushings reciprocate with the first and second follower arms 986, 988 without affecting the rotary position of the jaw 902. Figure 78B shows the bushings 983, 985 and the dual cam assembly 984, including the first and second cam portions 984B, 984B, with the first and second follower arms 986, 988 removed to provide a more detailed and clearer view.

    [0054] The operation of the left and right articulation of the shaft assembly 908 using the double cam mechanism 984 is further illustrated in figures 82-85. In figures 82 and 83, the double cam mechanism 984 is positioned to articulate the shaft assembly 908 in the right direction 958R. By rotating the cam mechanism 984 in a CCW direction from its neutral position, the articulation section 912 of the shaft assembly 908 distal end of the shaft assembly 908 moves in the right direction 958R. In figures 84 and 85, the double cam mechanism 954 is positioned to articulate the shaft assembly 908 in the left direction 958L. By rotating the cam mechanism 984 in a CW direction from its neutral position, the articulation section 912 of the shaft assembly 908 distal end of the shaft assembly 908 moves in the left direction 958L.

    [0055] As shown in more detail in figure 86, in one embodiment, the tool mounting portion 914 of the surgical tool 900 comprises a shaft assembly 908 rotation mechanism. In the illustrated embodiment, for example, the surgical tool 900 comprises a first spiral worm gear 996 coupled to a rotatable body 921 and meshed to a second spiral worm gear 998 coupled to the shaft assembly 908. Accordingly, rotation of the first spiral worm gear 996 cause rotation of the second spiral worm gear 998 and thus rotation of the shaft assembly 908 in a CW and CCW direction based on the rotational direction of the rotatable body 921 coupled to the first spiral worm gear 996. Accordingly, rotation of the rotatable body 921 about a first axis is converted to rotation of the shaft assembly 908 about a second axis, which is orthogonal to the first axis. Additional bearings may be provided between the rotatable bodies and the corresponding gears. Any suitable bearings may be provided to support and stabilize the mounting and reduce rotary friction of shaft and gears, for example.

    [0056] In one embodiment, the tool mounting portion 914 of the surgical tool 900 comprises a clamp jaw 902 open/close mechanism and a knife actuation mechanism. In the illustrated embodiment, for example, the surgical tool 900 comprises a rack and pinion gearing mechanism to provide the clamp jaw 902 open/close and knife actuation functionality. In embodiment, the rack and pinion gearing mechanism comprises a rotatable body 921 coupled to a pinion gear 997 that is meshed to a rack gear 995. The pinion gear 997 is coupled to a rotatable body 921 such that rotation of the corresponding driven element 920 causes the pinion gear 997 to rotate in a first direction. The pinion gear 997 is meshed to the rack gear 995, which moves in a linear direction. The rack gear 995 is coupled to a close/open block 999, which is coupled to a distal portion of the shaft assembly 908. In one embodiment, the rack and pinion gear mechanism comprising the pinion gear 997 is configured to control the opening and closing of the top jaw 904 portion of the clamp jaw 902 and movement of an "I-beam" shaped cutting element through the slot 928 formed in the clamp jaw 902. As the rack gear 995 moves in a distal direction, the "I-beam" shaped cutting element advances and closes the top jaw 904 portion of the clamp jaw 902. As the rack gear 995 moves in a proximal direction, the "I-beam" shaped cutting element retracts and enables the top jaw 904 portion of the clamp jaw 902 to open. A description of one embodiment of an "I-beam" shaped cutting element is provided in the '660 Application.

    [0057] With reference now to figures 86-88, a limit switch 980 is provided to indicate the position of the cutter element in the end effector 902. In one embodiment, an on/off switch 994 can be mounted to the tool mounting housing 926 to provide external controls or to provide the electrical state of the surgical tool 900. As shown in figure 87, for example, at the complete closure of the top jaw 904 and cutter element at the distal portion of the surgical tool 900, the rack gear gear 995 compresses the limit switch 980 to provide a signal for power actuation and/or an indication to a controller that the top jaw 904 of the clamp jaw 902 is closed and the cutter element is "out" in a distal position. As shown in figure 88, for example, the limit switch 908 is free and provides an indication to a controller that the top jaw 902 of the clamp jaw 902 is open and the cutter element is in a proximal position.

    [0058] In various embodiments, the surgical tools 600, 700, 800, 900 may be operated with external power and energy sources. In other embodiments, surgical tools 1000, 1100 as shown in figures 89-91 may comprise internal energy sources for driving electronics and providing the desired cauterization electrical energy at an RF frequency (it has been found that frequencies above about 50 kHz do not affect the human nervous system) is then applied by, in a controlled manner, to the end effector forceps.

    [0059] Accordingly, figures 89 and 90 illustrate one embodiment of a surgical tool 1000 that is well-adapted for use with the robotic system 200 (figure 2) that has a tool drive assembly that is operatively coupled to a master controller 202 (figure 2) that is operable by inputs from an operator (i.e., a surgeon). As shown in figures 89, 90, the surgical tool comprises an internal direct current (DC) energy source and an internal drive and control circuit 1002. In the illustrated embodiment, the energy source comprises a first and second battery 1004, 1006. In other respects, the surgical tool 1000 is similar to the surgical tool 700 illustrated in figures 25-43. Accordingly, in one embodiment the surgical tool 1000 comprises a shaft assembly having elongate tube portion 1010 and a distal articulation section (not shown). The surgical tool 1000 further comprises an interface 1016, which mechanically and electrically couples the tool mounting portion 1014 to the manipulator 308. In various embodiments, the tool mounting portion 1014 comprises a tool mounting housing 1026 and a tool mounting plate 1018 that operatively supports a plurality of rotatable body portions, driven discs or elements that each include a pair of pins that extend from a surface of the driven element. One pin is closer to an axis of rotation of each driven element than the other pin on the same driven element, which helps to ensure positive angular alignment of the driven element. The interface 1016 comprises an adaptor portion that is configured to mountingly engage the mounting plate 1018. In one embodiment, an adaptor portion may include an array of electrical connecting pins, which may be coupled to a memory structure by a circuit board 1002 within the tool mounting portion 1014. While the interface 1016 is described herein with reference to mechanical, electrical, and magnetic coupling elements, it should be understood that a wide variety of telemetry modalities might be used, including infrared, inductive coupling, or the like.

    [0060] In one embodiment, the tool mounting portion 1014 of the surgical tool 1000 comprises a shaft assembly articulation mechanism, a shaft assembly rotation mechanism, a clamp jaw open/close mechanism, and a knife actuation mechanism. In one embodiment, the rotatable bodies 721 (e.g., rotatable spools) are coupled to the driven elements. The rotatable bodies 1021 may be formed integrally with the driven elements. In some embodiments, the rotatable bodies 1021 may be formed separately from the driven elements provided that the rotatable bodies 1021 and the driven elements are fixedly coupled such that driving the driven elements causes rotation of the rotatable bodies 1021. Each of the rotatable bodies 1021 is coupled to a gear train or gear mechanism to provide shaft articulation and rotation and clamp jaw open/close and knife actuation.

    [0061] In one embodiment, the tool mounting portion 1014 of the surgical tool 1000 comprises a shaft assembly articulation mechanism. In the illustrated embodiment, for example, the surgical tool 1000 comprises a rack and pinion mechanism to provide shaft articulation functionality. In one embodiment, the rack and pinion gearing mechanism comprises a first pinion gear 1036 coupled to a rotatable body 1021 such that rotation of the corresponding driven element causes the first pinion gear 1036 to rotate. The first pinion gear 1036 is meshed to a first rack gear 1050 to convert the rotational motion of the first pinion gear 1036 into linear motion of the first rack gear 1050 to control the articulation of the articulation section of the shaft assembly in a left direction. The first rack gear 1050 is attached to a first articulation band such that linear motion of the first rack gear 1050 in a distal direction causes the articulation section of the shaft assembly to articulate in the left direction. A second pinion gear 1038 is coupled to another rotatable body 1021 such that rotation of the corresponding driven element 1020 causes the second pinion gear 1038 to rotate. The second pinion gear 1038 is meshed to a second rack gear 1052 to convert the rotational motion of the second pinion gear 1038 into linear motion of the second rack gear 1052 to control the articulation of the articulation section of the shaft assembly in a right direction. The second rack gear 1052 is attached to a second articulation band such that linear motion of the second rack gear 1052 in a distal direction causes the articulation section of the shaft assembly to articulate in the right direction.

    [0062] In one embodiment, the tool mounting portion 1014 of the surgical tool 1000 comprises a shaft assembly rotation mechanism. In the illustrated embodiment, for example, the surgical tool 1000 comprises a first spiral worm gear 1066 coupled to a second spiral worm gear 1064, which is coupled to a third spiral worm gear 1044. Such an arrangement is provided for various reasons including maintaining compatibility with existing robotic systems 200 and/or where space may be limited. The first spiral worm gear 1066 is coupled to a rotatable body 1021. The third spiral worm gear 1044 is meshed with a fourth spiral worm gear 1046 coupled to the shaft assembly. The third spiral worm gear 1066 is meshed to the fourth spiral worm gear 1046, which is coupled to the shaft assembly, to control the rotation of the shaft assembly in a CW and a CCW direction based on the rotational direction of the spiral worm gears 1044, 1046. Accordingly, rotation of the third spiral worm gear 1044 about a first axis is converted to rotation of the fourth spiral worm gear 1046 about a second axis, which is orthogonal to the first axis.

    [0063] In one embodiment, the tool mounting portion 1014 of the surgical tool 1000 comprises a clamp jaw open/close mechanism and a knife actuation mechanism. In the illustrated embodiment, for example, the surgical tool 1000 comprises a rack and pinion gearing mechanism to provide the clamp jaw open/close and knife actuation functionality. In one embodiment, a third pinion gear 1040 is coupled to a rotatable body 1021 such that rotation of the corresponding driven element causes the third pinion gear 1040 to rotate in a first direction. The third pinion gear 1040 is meshed to a rack gear 1049, which moves in a linear direction. The rack gear 1049 is coupled to a close/open block 1048, which is coupled to a distal portion of the shaft assembly. In one embodiment, the gear mechanism comprising the pinion gear 1040 is configured to control the opening and closing of the clamp jaw and movement of an "I-beam" shaped cutting element through the slot formed in the clamp jaw. As the rack gear 1049 moves in a distal direction, the "I-beam" shaped cutting element advances and closes the top jaw portion of the clamp jaw. As the rack gear 1049 moves in a proximal direction, the "I-beam" shaped cutting element retracts and enables the top jaw portion of the clamp jaw to open. A description of one embodiment of an "I-beam" shaped cutting element is provided in the '660 Application.

    [0064] Figure 91 illustrates one embodiment of a surgical tool 1100 that is well-adapted for use with the robotic system 200 (figure 2) that has a tool drive assembly that is operatively coupled to a master controller 202 (figure 2) that is operable by inputs from an operator (i.e., a surgeon). As shown in figures 89, 90, the surgical tool comprises an internal direct current (DC) energy source and an internal drive and control circuit. In the illustrated embodiment, the energy source comprises a first battery 1104 and a second battery 1106. In other respects, the surgical tool 1100 is similar to the surgical tool 900 illustrated in figures 63-88. Accordingly, in one embodiment the surgical tool 1100 comprises a shaft assembly having elongate tube portion 1110 and a distal articulation section (not shown). The surgical tool 1100 further comprises an interface 1116, which mechanically and electrically couples the tool mounting portion 1114 to the manipulator 308. In various embodiments, the tool mounting portion 1114 comprises a tool mounting housing and a tool mounting plate 1118 that operatively supports a plurality of rotatable body portions, driven discs or elements that each include a pair of pins that extend from a surface of the driven element. One pin is closer to an axis of rotation of each driven element than the other pin on the same driven element, which helps to ensure positive angular alignment of the driven element. The interface 1116 comprises an adaptor portion that is configured to mountingly engage the mounting plate 1118. In one embodiment, an adaptor portion may include an array of electrical connecting pins, which may be coupled to a memory structure by a circuit board within the tool mounting portion 1114. While the interface 1116 is described herein with reference to mechanical, electrical, and magnetic coupling elements, it should be understood that a wide variety of telemetry modalities might be used, including infrared, inductive coupling, or the like.

    [0065] In one embodiment, the tool mounting portion 1014 of the surgical tool 1100 comprises a shaft assembly articulation mechanism. In the illustrated embodiment, for example, the surgical tool 1100 comprises a double cam mechanism 1184 to provide the shaft articulation functionality. In one embodiment, the double cam mechanism 1184 comprises first and second cam portions 1154A, 1154B (not shown). First and second follower arms 1186, 1188 are pivotally coupled to corresponding pivot spools 1182. As the rotatable body 1121 coupled to the double cam mechanism 1184 rotates, the first cam portion 1184A acts on the first follower arm 1186 and the second cam portion 1184B acts on the second follower arm 1188. As the cam mechanism 1184 rotates the follower arms 1186, 1188 pivot about the pivot spools 1182. The first follower arm 1186 is attached to the first articulation band 1151 and the second follower arm 1188 is attached to the second articulation band 1153. As the top cam portion 1154A acts of the first follower arm 1186, the shaft assembly articulates in a left direction 1158L. As the bottom cam portion 1154B acts of the second follower arm 1188, the shaft assembly articulates in a right direction 1158R.

    [0066] As shown in more detail in figure 86, in one embodiment, the tool mounting portion 1114 of the surgical tool 1100 comprises a shaft assembly rotation mechanism. In the illustrated embodiment, for example, the surgical tool 1100 comprises a first spiral worm gear 1196 coupled to a rotatable body 1121 and meshed to a second spiral worm gear 1198 coupled to the shaft assembly. Accordingly, rotation of the first spiral worm gear 1196 cause rotation of the second spiral worm gear 1198 and thus rotation of the shaft assembly in a CW and CCW direction based on the rotational direction of the rotatable body 1121 coupled to the first spiral worm gear 1196. Accordingly, rotation of the rotatable body 1121 about a first axis is converted to rotation of the shaft assembly about a second axis, which is orthogonal to the first axis.

    [0067] In one embodiment, the tool mounting portion 1114 of the surgical tool 1100 comprises a clamp jaw open/close mechanism and a knife actuation mechanism. In the illustrated embodiment, for example, the surgical tool 1100 comprises a rack and pinion gearing mechanism to provide the clamp jaw open/close and knife actuation functionality. In embodiment, the rack and pinion gearing mechanism comprises a rotatable body 1121 coupled to a pinion gear 1197 that is meshed to a rack gear 1195. The pinion gear 1197 is coupled to a rotatable body 1121 such that rotation of the corresponding driven element 1120 causes the pinion gear 1197 to rotate in a first direction. The pinion gear 1197 is meshed to the rack gear 1195, which moves in a linear direction. The rack gear 1195 is coupled to a close/open block 1199, which is coupled to a distal portion of the shaft assembly. In one embodiment, the rack and pinion gear mechanism comprising the pinion gear 1197 is configured to control the opening and closing of the top jaw portion of the clamp jaw and movement of an "I-beam" shaped cutting element through the slot 1128 formed in the clamp jaw. As the rack gear 1195 moves in a distal direction, the "I-beam" shaped cutting element advances and closes the top jaw portion of the clamp jaw. As the rack gear 1195 moves in a proximal direction, the "I-beam" shaped cutting element retracts and enables the top jaw portion of the clamp jaw to open. A description of one embodiment of an "I-beam" shaped cutting element is provided in the '660 Application.

    [0068] A limit switch 1180 is provided to indicate the position of the cutter element in the end effector. An on/off switch 1194 is provided to controls the electrical state of the surgical tool 1100. The limit switch 1180 is compressed and provides an indication to a controller that the top jaw 1104 of the clamp jaw is closed and the cutter element is "out" in a distal position. The limit switch is free and provides an indication to a controller that the top jaw of the clamp jaw is open and the cutter element is in a proximal position.

    [0069] Although the modified surgical tools 1000, 1100 shown in figures 89-91 were described with reference to the embodiments of the surgical tools 700 and 900, the other embodiments of the surgical tools 600 and 800 also may be modified in a manner similar to hat shown and discussed in connection with figures 89-91, without limitation.

    [0070] The description now turns figures 92-98 where one embodiment of RF drive and control circuit sections of a battery powered electrosurgical instrument, according to one embodiment, is described. The RF drive and control circuitry sections of the electronics circuits 1002, 1102 as shown in connection with surgical tools 1000, 1100, respectively. The electronics elements of the power supply and RF amplifier sections should be designed to have the highest efficiency possible in order to minimize the heat rejected into the relatively small handheld housing. Efficiency also provides the longest storage and operational battery life possible.

    [0071] In various embodiments, efficiency of the power supply and RF drive and control circuitry sections also may minimize the size of the batteries 1004, 1006, 1104, 1106 shown in figures 89-91, and otherwise referred to hereinbelow as battery 1300 in connection with figures 92-98, required to fulfill the mission life, or to extend the mission life for a given size battery 1300. In one embodiment, the battery 1300 provides a low source impedance at a terminal voltage of 12.6V (unloaded) and a 1030 mA-Hour capacity. Under load, the battery voltage is a nominal 11.1.V, for example.

    [0072] Radio frequency drive amplifier topologies may vary according to various embodiments. In one embodiment, for example, a series resonant approach may be employed where the operating frequency is varied to change the output voltage to force the surgical tool to operate according to a pre-programmed load curve. In a series resonant approach, the impedance of a series resonant network is at a minimum at the resonant frequency, because the reactance of the capacitive and inductive elements cancel, leaving a small real resistance. The voltage maximum for a series resonant circuit also occurs at the resonant frequency (and also depends upon the circuit Q). Accordingly, to produce a high voltage on the output, the series resonant circuit should operate closer to the resonant frequency, which increases the current draw from the DC supply (e.g., battery 1300) to feed the RF amplifier section with the required current. Although the series resonant approach may be referred to as a resonant mode boost converter, in reality, the design is rarely operated at the resonant frequency, because that is the point of maximum voltage. The benefit of a resonant mode topology is that if it is operated very close to the resonant frequency, the switching field effect transistors (FETs) can be switched "ON" or "OFF" at either a voltage or current zero crossing, which dissipates the least amount of power in the switching FETs as is possible.

    [0073] Another feature of the RF drive and control circuitry section according to one embodiment, provides a relatively high turns ratio transformer which steps up the output voltage to about 85VRMS from the nominal battery 1300 voltage of about 11.1V. This provides a more compact implementation because only one transformer and one other inductor are required. In such a circuit, high currents are necessary on the transformer primary to create the desired output voltage or current. Such device, however, cannot be operated at the resonant frequency because allowances are made to take into account for the battery voltage dropping as it is expended. Accordingly, some headroom is provided to maintain the output voltage at the required level. A more detailed description of a series resonant approach is provided in commonly assigned international PCT Patent Application No. PCT/GB2011/000778, titled "Medical Device," filed May 20, 2011, published as WO2011144911.

    [0074] According to another embodiment, an RF instrument topology comprising a novel and unique architecture is provided for a handheld battery powered RF based generator for the electrosurgical surgical tool. Accordingly, in one embodiment, the present disclosure provides an RF instrument topology with an architecture configured such that each power section of the device operate at maximum efficiency regardless of the load resistance presented by the tissue or what voltage, current, or power level is commanded by the controller. In one embodiment, this may be implemented by employing the most efficient modalities of energy transformation presently known and by minimizing the component size to provide a small and light weight electronics package to fit within the housing, for example.

    [0075] In one embodiment, the RF power electronics section of the electronics system 400 may be partitioned as a boost mode converter, synchronous buck converter, and a parallel resonant amplifier. According to one embodiment, a resonant mode boost converter section of the surgical tool may be employed to convert the DC battery 1300 voltage to a higher DC voltage for use by the synchronous mode buck converter. One aspect to consider for achieving a predetermined efficiency of the resonant mode boost converter section is ratio between input and output voltages of the boost converter. In one embodiment, although a 10:1 ratio is achievable, the cost is that for any appreciable power on the secondary the input currents to the boost mode transformer become quite heavy, in the range of about 15-25A, depending on the load. In another embodiment a transformer turns ratio of about 5:1 is provided. It will be appreciated that transformer ratios in the range of about 5:1 to about 10:1 also may be implemented, without limitation. In a 5:1 transformer turns ratio, the design tradeoff is managing the Q of the parallel resonant output against the boost ratio. The resonant output network performs two functions. First, it filters the square, digital pulses from the Class D output amplifier and removes all but the fundamental frequency sine wave from the output. Second, it provides a passive voltage gain due to the Q of the filter network. In other words, current from the amplifier is turned into output voltage, at a gain determined by the circuit's unloaded Q and the load resistance, which affects the Q of the circuit.

    [0076] Another aspect to consider for achieving a predetermined efficiency in the resonant mode boost converter section is to utilize a full bridge switcher topology, which allows half the turns ratio for the boost transformer for the same input voltage. The tradeoff is that this approach may require additional FET transistors, e.g., an additional two FETs are required over a half bridge approach, for example. Presently available switchmode FETs, however, are relatively small, and while the gate drive power is not negligible, it provides a reasonable design tradeoff.

    [0077] Yet another aspect to consider for achieving a predetermined efficiency in the resonant mode boost converter section and operating the boost converter at maximum efficiency, is to always run the circuit at the resonant frequency so that the FETs are always switching at either a voltage or current minima, whichever is selected by the designer (ZCS vs. ZVS switching), for example. This can include monitoring the resonant frequency of the converter as the load changes, and making adjustments to the switching frequency of the boost converter to allow ZVS or ZCS (Zero Voltage Switching/Zero Current Switching) to occur for minimum power dissipation.

    [0078] Yet another aspect to consider for achieving a predetermined efficiency in the resonant mode boost converter section is to utilize a synchronous rectifier circuit instead of a conventional full-wave diode rectifier block. Synchronous rectification employs FETs as diodes because the on-resistance of the FET is so much lower than that of even a Schottky power diode optimized for low forward voltage drop under high current conditions. A synchronous rectifier requires gate drive for the FETs and the logic to control them, but offers significant power savings over a traditional full bridge rectifier.

    [0079] In accordance with various embodiments, the predetermined efficiency of a resonant mode boost converter is approximately 98-99% input to output, for example. Any suitable predetermined efficiency may be selected based on the particular implementation. Accordingly, the embodiments described herein are limited in this context.

    [0080] According to one embodiment, a synchronous buck converter section of the surgical tool may be employed to reduce the DC voltage fed to the RF amplifier section to the predetermined level to maintain the commanded output power, voltage or current as dictated by the load curve, with as little loss as is possible. The buck converter is essentially an LC lowpass filter fed by a low impedance switch, along with a regulation circuit to control the switch to maintain the commanded output voltage. The operating voltage is dropped to the predetermined level commanded by the main controller, which is running the control system code to force the system to follow the assigned load curve as a function of sensed tissue resistance. In accordance with various embodiments, the predetermined efficiency of a synchronous buck regulator is approximately 99%, for example. Any suitable predetermined efficiency may be selected based on the particular implementation. Accordingly, the embodiments described herein are limited in this context.

    [0081] According to one embodiment, a resonant mode RF amplifier section comprising a parallel resonant network on the RF amplifier section output is provided. In one embodiment, a predetermined efficiency may be achieved by a providing a parallel resonant network on the RF amplifier section output. The RF amplifier section may be driven at the resonant frequency of the output network which accomplished three things. First, the high Q network allows some passive voltage gain on the output, reducing the boost required from the boost regulator in order to produce high voltage output levels. Second, the square pulses produced by the RF amplifier section are filtered and only the fundamental frequency is allowed to pass to the output. Third, a full-bridge amplifier is switched at the resonant frequency of the output filter, which is to say at either the voltage zero crossings or the current zero crossings in order to dissipate minimum power. Accordingly, a predetermined efficiency of the RF amplifier section is approximately 98%. Gate drive losses may limit the efficiency to this figure or slightly lower. Any suitable predetermined efficiency may be selected based on the particular implementation. Accordingly, the embodiments described herein are limited in this context.

    [0082] In view of the RF instrument topology and architecture described above, an overall system efficiency of approximately 0.99*0.99*0.98, which is approximately 96%,m ay be achieved. Accordingly, to deliver approximately 45W, approximately 1.8W would be dissipated by the electronics exclusive of the power required to run the main and housekeeping microprocessors, and the support circuits such as the ADC and analog amplifiers and filters. To deliver approximately 135W, approximately 5.4W would be dissipated. This is the amount of power that would be required to implement a large jaw class generator in a hand held electrosurgical medical instrument. Overall system efficiency would likely only be a weak function of load resistance, instead of a relatively strong one as it may be the case in some conventional instruments.

    [0083] In various other embodiments of the electrosurgical surgical tool, a series resonant topology may be employed to achieve certain predetermined efficiency increase by employing a full bridge amplifier for the primary circuit and isolate the full bridge amplifier from ground to get more voltage on the primary. This provides a larger primary inductance and lower flux density due to the larger number of turns on the primary.

    [0084] Figure 92 illustrates an RF drive and control circuit 1800, according to one embodiment. Figure 92 is a part schematic part block diagram illustrating the RF drive and control circuitry 1800 used in this embodiment to generate and control the RF electrical energy supplied to the forceps. As will be explained in more detail below, in this embodiment, the drive circuitry 1800 is a resonant mode RF amplifier comprising a parallel resonant network on the RF amplifier output and the control circuitry operates to control the operating frequency of the drive signal so that it is maintained at the resonant frequency of the drive circuit, which in turn controls the amount of power supplied to the forceps 108. The way that this is achieved will become apparent from the following description.

    [0085] As shown in figure 92, the RF drive and control circuit 1800 comprises the above described battery 1300 are arranged to supply, in this example, about 0V and about 12V rails. An input capacitor (Cin) 1802 is connected between the 0V and the 12V for providing a low source impedance. A pair of FET switches 1803-1 and 1803-2 (both of which are N-channel in this embodiment to reduce power losses) is connected in series between the 0V rail and the 12V rail. FET gate drive circuitry 1805 is provided that generates two drive signals - one for driving each of the two FETs 1803. The FET gate drive circuitry 1805 generates drive signals that causes the upper FET (1803-1) to be on when the lower FET (1803-2) is off and vice versa. This causes the node 1807 to be alternately connected to the 12V rail (when the FET 1803-1 is switched on) and the 0V rail (when the FET 1803-2 is switched on). Figure 92 also shows the internal parasitic diodes 1808-1 and 1808-2 of the corresponding FETs 1803, which conduct during any periods that the FETs 1803 are open.

    [0086] As shown in figure 92, the node 1807 is connected to an inductor-inductor resonant circuit 1810 formed by inductor Ls 1812 and inductor Lm 1814. The FET gate driving circuitry 1805 is arranged to generate drive signals at a drive frequency (fd) that opens and crosses the FET switches 1803 at the resonant frequency of the parallel resonant circuit 1810. As a result of the resonant characteristic of the resonant circuit 1810, the square wave voltage at node 1807 will cause a substantially sinusoidal current at the drive frequency (fd) to flow within the resonant circuit 1810. As illustrated in figure 92, the inductor Lm 1814 is the primary of a transformer 1815, the secondary of which is formed by inductor Lsec 1816. The inductor Lsec 1816 of the transformer 1815 secondary is connected to an inductor-capacitor-capacitor parallel resonant circuit 1817 formed by inductor L2 1818, capacitor C4 1820, and capacitor C2 1822. The transformer 1815 up-converts the drive voltage (Vd) across the inductor Lm 1814 to the voltage that is applied to the output parallel resonant circuit 1817. The load voltage (VL) is output by the parallel resonant circuit 1817 and is applied to the load (represented by the load resistance Rload 1819 in figure 92) corresponding to the impedance of the forceps' jaws and any tissue or vessel gripped by the forceps. As shown in figure 92, a pair of DC blocking capacitors Cbl 1840-1 and 1840-2 is provided to prevent any DC signal being applied to the load 1819.

    [0087] In one embodiment, the transformer 1815 may be implemented with a Core Diameter (mm), Wire Diameter (mm), and Gap between secondary windings in accordance with the following specifications:

    Core Diameter, D (mm)

    D = 19.9x10-3

    Wire diameter, W (mm) for 22 AWG wire

    W = 7.366x10-4

    Gap between secondary windings, in gap = 0.125

    G = gap/25.4



    [0088] In this embodiment, the amount of electrical power supplied to the forceps is controlled by varying the frequency of the switching signals used to switch the FETs 1803. This works because the resonant circuit 810 acts as a frequency dependent (loss less) attenuator. The closer the drive signal is to the resonant frequency of the resonant circuit 1810, the less the drive signal is attenuated. Similarly, as the frequency of the drive signal is moved away from the resonant frequency of the circuit 1810, the more the drive signal is attenuated and so the power supplied to the load reduces. In this embodiment, the frequency of the switching signals generated by the FET gate drive circuitry 1805 is controlled by a controller 1841 based on a desired power to be delivered to the load 1819 and measurements of the load voltage (VL) and of the load current (IL) obtained by conventional voltage sensing circuitry 1843 and current sensing circuitry 1845. The way that the controller 841 operates will be described in more detail below.

    [0089] In one embodiment, the voltage sensing circuitry 1843 and the current sensing circuitry 1845 may be implemented with high bandwidth, high speed rail-to-rail amplifiers (e.g., LMH6643 by National Semiconductor). Such amplifiers, however, consume a relatively high current when they are operational. Accordingly, a power save circuit may be provided to reduce the supply voltage of the amplifiers when they are not being used in the voltage sensing circuitry 1843 and the current sensing circuitry 1845. In one-embodiment, a step-down regulator (e.g., LT3502 by Linear Technologies) may be employed by the power save circuit to reduce the supply voltage of the rail-to-rail amplifiers and thus extend the life of the battery 1300.

    [0090] Figure 93 illustrates the main components of the controller 1841, according to one embodiment. In the embodiment illustrated in figure 93, the controller 1841 is a microprocessor based controller and so most of the components illustrated in figure 93 are software based components. Nevertheless, a hardware based controller 1841 may be used instead. As shown, the controller 1841 includes synchronous I,Q sampling circuitry 1851 that receives the sensed voltage and current signals from the sensing circuitry 1843 and 1845 and obtains corresponding samples which are passed to a power, Vrms and Irms calculation module 1853. The calculation module 1853 uses the received samples to calculate the RMS voltage and RMS current applied to the load 1819 (figure 92; forceps and tissue/vessel gripped thereby) and from them the power that is presently being supplied to the load 1839. The determined values are then passed to a frequency control module 1855 and a medical device control module 1857. The medical device control module 1857 uses the values to determine the present impedance of the load 1819 and based on this determined impedance and a pre-defined algorithm, determines what set point power (Pset) should be applied to the frequency control module 1855. The medical device control module 857 is in turn controlled by signals received from a user input module 1859 that receives inputs from the user (for example pressing buttons or activating the control levers on the handle) and also controls output devices (lights, a display, speaker or the like) on the handle via a user output module 1861.

    [0091] The frequency control module 1855 uses the values obtained from the calculation module 1853 and the power set point (Pset) obtained from the medical device control module 1857 and predefined system limits (to be explained below), to determine whether or not to increase or decrease the applied frequency. The result of this decision is then passed to a square wave generation module 1863 which, in this embodiment, increments or decrements the frequency of a square wave signal that it generates by 1 kHz, depending on the received decision. As those skilled in the art will appreciate, in an alternative embodiment, the frequency control module 1855 may determine not only whether to increase or decrease the frequency, but also the amount of frequency change required. In this case, the square wave generation module 1863 would generate the corresponding square wave signal with the desired frequency shift. In this embodiment, the square wave signal generated by the square wave generation module 1863 is output to the FET gate drive circuitry 1805, which amplifies the signal and then applies it to the FET 1803-1. The FET gate drive circuitry 1805 also inverts the signal applied to the FET 1803-1 and applies the inverted signal to the FET 1803-2.

    [0092] Figure 94 is a signal plot illustrating the switching signals applied to the FETs 1803, a sinusoidal signal representing the measured current or voltage applied to the load 1819, and the timings when the synchronous sampling circuitry 1851 samples the sensed load voltage and load current, according to one embodiment. In particular, figure 17 shows the switching signal (labeled PWM1 H) applied to upper FET 1803-1 and the switching signal (labeled PWM1 L) applied to lower FET 1803-2. Although not illustrated for simplicity, there is a dead time between PWM1H and PWM1L to ensure that that both FETs 1803 are not on at the same time. Figure 94 also shows the measured load voltage/current (labeled OUTPUT). Both the load voltage and the load current will be a sinusoidal waveform, although they may be out of phase, depending on the impedance of the load 1819. As shown, the load current and load voltage are at the same drive frequency (f) as the switching Signals (PWM1 H and PWM1 L) used to switch the FETs 1803. Normally, when sampling a sinusoidal signal, it is necessary to sample the signal at a rate corresponding to at least twice the frequency of the signal being sampled - i.e. two samples per period. However, as the controller 1841 knows the frequency of the switching signals, the synchronous sampling circuit 1851 can sample the measured voltage/current signal at a lower rate. In this embodiment, the synchronous sampling circuit 1851 samples the measured signal once per period, but at different phases in adjacent periods. In figure 17, this is illustrated by the "I" sample and the "Q" sample. The timing that the synchronous sampling circuit 51 makes these samples is controlled, in this embodiment, by the two control signals PWM2 and PWM3, which have a fixed phase relative to the switching signals (PWM1 Hand PWM1 L) and are out of phase with each other (preferably by quarter of the period as this makes the subsequent calculations easier). As shown, the synchronous sampling circuit 1851 obtains an "I" sample on every other rising edge of the PWM2 signal and the synchronous sampling circuit 1851 obtains a "0" sample on every other rising edge of the PWM3 signal. The synchronous sampling circuit 1851 generates the PWM2 and PWM3 control signals from the square wave signal output by the square wave generator 1863 (which is at the same frequency as the switching signals PWM1 Hand PWM1 L). Thus control signals PWM2 and PWM3 also changes (whilst their relative phases stay the same). In this way, the sampling circuitry 1851 continuously changes the timing at which it samples the sensed voltage and current signals as the frequency of the drive signal is changed so that the samples are always taken at the same time points within the period of the drive signal. Therefore, the sampling circuit 1851 is performing a "synchronous" sampling operation instead of a more conventional sampling operation that just samples the input signal at a fixed sampling rate defined by a fixed sampling clock.

    [0093] The samples obtained by the synchronous sampling circuitry 1851 are then passed to the power, Vrms and Irms calculation module 1853 which can determine the magnitude and phase of the measured signal from just one "I" sample and one "Q" sample of the load current and load voltage. However, in this embodiment, to achieve some averaging, the calculation module 1853 averages consecutive "I" samples to provide an average "I" value and consecutive "Q" samples to provide an average "0" value; and then uses the average I and Q values to determine the magnitude and phase of the measured signal (in a conventional manner). As those skilled in the art will appreciate, with a drive frequency of about 400kHz and sampling once per period means that the synchronous sampling circuit 1851 will have a sampling rate of 400kHz and the calculation module 1853 will produce a voltage measure and a current measure every 0.01 ms. The operation of the synchronous sampling circuit 1851 offers an improvement over existing products, where measurements can not be made at the same rate and where only magnitude information is available (the phase information being lost).

    [0094] In one embodiment, the RF amplifier and drive circuitry for the electrosurgical surgical tool employs a resonant mode step-up switching regulator, running at the desired RF electrosurgical frequency to produce the required tissue effect. The waveform illustrated in figure 18 can be employed to boost system efficiency and to relax the tolerances required on several custom components in the electronics system 400. In one embodiment, a first generator control algorithm may be employed by a resonant mode switching topology to produce the high frequency, high voltage output signal necessary for the surgical tool. The first generator control algorithm shifts the operating frequency of the resonant mode converter to be nearer or farther from the resonance point in order to control the voltage on the output of the device, which in turn controls the current and power on the output of the device. The drive waveform to the resonant mode converter has heretofore been a constant, fixed duty cycle, with frequency (and not amplitude) of the drive waveform being the only means of control.

    [0095] Figure 95 illustrates a drive waveform for driving the FET gate drive circuitry 1805, according to one embodiment. Accordingly, in another embodiment, a second generator control algorithm may be employed by a resonant mode switching topology to produce the high frequency, high voltage output signal necessary for the surgical tool. The second generator control algorithm provides an additional means of control over the amplifier in order to reduce power output in order for the control system to track gear the power curve while maintaining the operational efficiency of the converter. As shown in figure 18, according to one embodiment, the second generator control algorithm is configured to not only modulate the drive frequency that the converter is operating at, but to also control the duty cycle of the drive waveform by duty cycle modulation. Accordingly, the drive waveform 1890 illustrated in figure 95 exhibits two degrees of freedom. Advantages of utilizing the drive waveform 1890 modulation include flexibility, improved overall system efficiency, and reduced power dissipation and temperature rise in the amplifier's electronics and passive inductive components, as well as increased battery life due to increased system efficiency.

    [0096] Figure 96 illustrates a diagram of the digital processing system 1900 located on the first substrate 1408a, according to one embodiment. The digital processing system 1900 comprises a main processor 1902, a safety processor 1904, a controller 1906, a memory 1908, and a non-volatile memory 1402, among other components that are not shown for clarity of disclosure. The dual processor architecture comprises a first operation processor referred to as the main processor 1902, which is the primary processor for controlling the operation of the surgical tool. In one aspect, the main processor 1902 executes the software instructions to implement the controller 1841 shown in figure 93. In one embodiment, the main processor 1902 also may comprise an analog-to-digital (A/D) converter and pulse width modulators (PWM) for timing control.

    [0097] The main processor 1902 controls various functions of the overall surgical tool. In one embodiment, the main processor receives voltage sense (V Sense) and current sense (I Sense) signals measured at the load (represented by the load resistance Rload 1819 in figure 92) corresponding to the impedance of the forceps' jaws and any tissue or vessel gripped by the forceps. For example, the main processor 1902 receives the V Sense and I Sense signals for the voltage sensing circuitry 1843 and current sensing circuitry 1845, as shown in figure 92. The main processor 1902 also receives tissue temperature (T sense) measurement at the load. Using the V Sense, I Sense, and T Sense, the processor 1902 can execute a variety of algorithms to detect the state of the tissue based on impedance Z, where Z = V Sense/I Sense. In one embodiment, the surgical tool is frequency agile from about 350kHz to about 650kHz. As previously discussed, the controller 1841 changes the resonant operating frequency of the RF amplifier sections, controlling the pulse width modulation (PWM), reducing the output voltage (V) to the load, and enhancing the output current (I) to the load as described in connection with figures 92-94, for example.

    [0098] Examples of frequency agile algorithms that may be employed to operate the present surgical instrument 100 are described in the following commonly owned U.S. Patent Applications: (1) U.S. Patent Application Publication No. US 2011-0082486, entitled DEVICES AND TECHNIQUES FOR CUTTING AND COAGULATING TISSUE, Attorney Docket No. END6427USCIP1/080591CIP; (2) U.S. Patent Application Publication No. US 2011-0087216, entitled SURGICAL GENERATOR FOR ULTRASONIC AND ELECTROSURGICAL DEVICES, Attorney Docket No. END6673USNP1/100557; (3) U.S. Patent Application Publication No. US 2011-0087212, entitled SURGICAL GENERATOR FOR ULTRASONIC AND ELECTROSURGICAL DEVICES, Attorney Docket No. END6673USNP2/100559; (4) U.S. Patent Application Publication No. US 2011-0087213, entitled SURGICAL GENERATOR FOR ULTRASONIC AND ELECTROSURGICAL DEVICES, Attorney Docket No. END6673USNP3/100560; (5) U.S. Patent Application Publication No. US 2011-0087215, entitled SURGICAL GENERATOR FOR ULTRASONIC AND ELECTROSURGICAL DEVICES, Attorney Docket No. END6673USNP4/100562; (6) U.S. Patent Application Publication No. US 2011-0087214, entitled SURGICAL GENERATOR FOR ULTRASONIC AND ELECTROSURGICAL DEVICES, Attorney Docket No. END6673USNP5/100563; (7) U.S. Patent Application Publication No. US 2011-0087217, entitled SURGICAL GENERATOR FOR ULTRASONIC AND ELECTROSURGICAL DEVICES, Attorney Docket No. END6673USNP6/100564; and U.S. Patent Application Publication No. US 2010-0036405, entitled ULTRASONIC DEVICE FOR CUTTING AND COAGULATING WITH STEPPED OUTPUT, Attorney Docket No. END6427USNP/080591.

    [0099] In one embodiment, the main processor 1902 also detects the limit switch end of stroke position (Lmt Sw Sense). The limit switch is activated when the knife reaches the end of stroke limit. The signal generated by the limit switch Lmt Sw Sense is provided to the main processor 1902 to indicate the end-of-stroke condition of the knife.

    [0100] In one embodiment, the main processor 1902 also senses an actuation signal (Reed Sw Sense) associated with a magnetically operated element located on the electronics system, limit switch, or other switch or input device. When initialization is detected by the main processor 1902, an algorithm is executed to control the operation of the surgical tool. One embodiment of such an algorithm is described in more detail hereinbelow. Further, on initial power up, when a magnetically operated element connects the battery 1300 supply to the electronics system, a low resistance load is applied to the terminals of the battery 1300 to check the internal resistance of the battery 1300. This enables the main processor 1902 to determine the charge state of the battery 1300 or in other words, determines the ability of the battery 1300 to deliver power to the electronics system. In one embodiment, the main processor 1902 may simply determine the absolute value of the difference between the unloaded and loaded battery 1300. If the main processor 1902 determines that the battery 1300 does not have enough capacity to deliver a suitable amount of power, the main processor 1902 disables the surgical tool and outputs a Discharge Battery signal, as discussed in more detail hereinbelow, to controllably discharge the battery 1300 such that it cannot be reused and is classified as an out-of-the box failure.

    [0101] In one embodiment, as part of the algorithm, the main processor 1902 enables one or more visual feedback elements 1181. As shown in figure 96, the visual feedback elements 1181 comprise at least one red LED, at least one green LED, and at least one blue LED. Each of the LEDs are energized based on algorithms associated with the surgical tool. The main processor 1902 also actuates an audio feedback element based on algorithm associated with the surgical tool. In one embodiment, the audio feedback element includes a piezoelectric buzzer operating at 65 dBa at 1 meter at a frequency between about 2.605 kHz to 2.800 kHz, for example. As previously discussed, the visual and audio feedback elements 1181 are not limited to the devices disclosed herein and are intended to encompass other visual and audio feedback elements.

    [0102] In one embodiment, the main processor 1902 provides certain output signals. For example, one output signal is provided to the circuitry to discharge the battery 1300 (Discharge Battery). This is explained in more detail with reference to figure 97. There may be a need to discharge the battery 1300 under several conditions according to algorithms associated with the surgical tool. Such conditions and algorithm are discussed in more detail hereinbelow. In one embodiment, the battery 1300 used to power the surgical tool has an initial out of the box capacity ranging from about 6 to about 8 hours up to about 10 hours under certain circumstances. After a medical procedure, some capacity will remain in the battery 1300. Since the battery 1300 is designed as a single use battery and is not rechargeable, the battery 1300 is controllably discharged after use to prevent reuse of the surgical tool when the battery 1300 has a partial capacity.

    [0103] In one embodiment, the main processor 1902 can verify the output voltage (V) and current (I) sensing function by an artificial injection of voltage and current into the load. The main processor 1902 then reads back the voltage and current from the load and determines whether the surgical tool can operate or fail in safe mode. In one embodiment, the test voltage and current are applied to the dummy load via an electronically controlled switch. For example, the electronic switch may comprise a two-pole relay. The main processor 1902 verifies the output sensing function once per hour when it is inactive and once prior to every firing. It will be appreciated that these periods may vary based on the particular implementation. To verify the output sensing function, the main processor 1902 outputs inject test voltage (Inject Test V) and inject test current (Inject test I) signals to the output sensing test circuit described in connection with figure 98 hereinbelow. As previously described, the main processor 1902 reads the sensed voltage and current signals V Sense and I Sense to determine the operation of the voltage (V) and current (I) sensing function of the surgical tool.

    [0104] The main processor 1902 is also coupled to a memory 1908 and the nonvolatile memory 1402. The computer program instructions executed by the main processor 1902 are stored in the nonvolatile memory 1402 (e.g., EEPROM, FLASH memory, and the like). The memory 1908, which may be random access memory (RAM) may be used for storing instructions during execution, measured data, variables, among others. The memory 1908 is volatile and its contents are erased when the battery 1300 is discharged below a predetermine voltage level. The nonvolatile memory 1402 is nonvolatile and its contents are not erased when the battery 1300 is discharged below a predetermined level. In one embodiment, it may be desirable to erase the contents of the nonvolatile memory 1402 to prevent its reuse, for example, when the surgical tool has already been utilized in a procedure, the surgical tool is determined to be an out-of-the box failure, or when the surgical tool otherwise fails. In each of these circumstances, the main processor 1902 initiates a battery 1300 discharge operation. In such circumstances, program instructions in the nonvolatile memory 1402 for erasing nonvolatile memory are transferred to the memory 1908 where program execution resumes. The instructions executed from the memory 1908 then erase the contents of the nonvolatile memory 1402.

    [0105] The safety processor 1904 is coupled to the main processor 1902 and monitors the operation of the main processor 1902. If the safety processor 1904 determines a malfunction of the main processor 1902, the safety processor 1904 can disable the operation of the main processor 1902 and shuts down the surgical tool in a safe mode.

    [0106] The controller 1906 is coupled to both the main processor 1902 and the safety processor 1904. In one embodiment, the controller 1906 also monitors the operation of the main processor 1902 and if the main processor 1902 loses control, the controller 1906 enables the safety processor to shut down the RF amplifier section in a safe manner. In one embodiment the controller 1906 may be implemented as complex programmable logic device (CPLD), without limitation.

    [0107] To preserve or extend the life of the battery 1300, the main processor 1902, the safety processor 1904, and/or the controller 1906 may be powered down (e.g., place din sleep mode) when they are not in use. This enables the digital processing system 1900 to conserve energy to preserve or extend the life of the battery 1300.

    [0108] In various embodiments, the main processor 1902, the safety processor 1904, or the controller 906 may comprise several separate functional elements, such as modules and/or blocks. Although certain modules and/or blocks may be described by way of example, it can be appreciated that a greater or lesser number of modules and/or blocks may be used and still fall within the scope of the embodiments. Further, although various embodiments may be described in terms of modules and/or blocks to facilitate description, such modules and/or blocks may be implemented by one or more than one hardware component, e.g., processor, Complex Programmable Logic Device (CPLD), Digital Signal Processor (DSP), Programmable Logic Devices (PLD), Application Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC), circuits, registers and/or software components, e.g., programs, subroutines, logic and/or combinations of hardware and software components.

    [0109] In one embodiment, the digital processing system 1900 may comprise one or more embedded applications implemented as firmware, software, hardware, or any combination thereof. The digital processing system 1900 may comprise various executable modules such as software, programs, data, drivers, application program interfaces (APIs), and so forth. The firmware may be stored in the nonvolatile memory 1402 (NVM), such as in bit-masked read-only memory (ROM) or flash memory. In various implementations, storing the firmware in ROM may preserve flash memory. The NVM may comprise other types of memory including, for example, programmable ROM (PROM), erasable programmable ROM (EPROM), electrically erasable programmable ROM (EEPROM), or battery backed random-access memory 1908 (RAM) such as dynamic RAM (DRAM), Double-Data-Rate DRAM (DDRAM), and/or synchronous DRAM (SDRAM).

    [0110] Figure 97 illustrates a battery discharge circuit 11000, according to one embodiment. Under normal operation line 11004 is held at a low potential and a current control device, such as a silicon controlled rectifier 11002, is in the OFF state and the battery voltage Vbatt is applied to the electronics system 1400 since no current floes from the anode "A" to the cathode "C" of the silicon controlled rectifier 11002. When, a high potential control signal "Discharge Battery" is applied by the main processor 1902 on line 11004, the gate "G" of the silicon controlled rectifier 11002 is held high by capacitor C1 and the silicon controlled rectifier 1002 conducts current from the anode "A" to the "C." The discharge current is limited by resistor R4. In alternate embodiments, rather then using the silicon controlled rectifier 11002, the current control device may be implemented using one or more diodes, transistors (e.g., FET, bipolar, unipolar), relays (solid state or electromechanical), optical isolators, optical couplers, among other electronic elements that can be configured to for an electronic switch to control the discharge of current from the battery 1300.

    [0111] Figure 98 illustrates a RF amplifier section with an output sensing test circuit and magnetic switch element, according to one embodiment. As previously discussed, in one embodiment, the main processor 1902 can verify the output current (I) and output voltage (V) sensing function by injecting a corresponding first test current 11102 and second test current 11104 into a dummy load 11114. The main processor 1902 then reads back the corresponding output sense current (I Out Sense 1) through current sense terminal 11120 and output sense current (I Out Sense 2) through voltage sense terminal 11122 from the dummy load 11114 and determines whether the surgical tool can operate or fail in safe mode. In one embodiment, the test current and voltage are applied to the dummy load via electronically controlled switches such as FET transistors, solid state relay, two-pole relay, and the like. The main processor 1902 verifies the output sensing functions once per hour when it is inactive and once prior to every firing. It will be appreciated that these periods may vary based on the particular implementation.

    [0112] To verify the output sensing function, the main processor 1902 disables the operation of the RF amplifier section 11112 by disabling the driver circuit 11116. Once the RF amplifier section 11112 is disabled, the main processor 1902 outputs a first inject test current (Inject Test I) signal and a second inject test voltage (Inject Test V) signal to the output sensing test circuit 11100. As a result a first test current 11102 is injected into resistors that turn ON transistor T1 11106, which turns ON transistor T2 11108 to generate I Out Sense 1 current through the transistor T2 11108. The current I Out Sense 1 flows out of the current sense terminal 11120 and is detected by the main processor 1902 as the I Sense signal. A second test current 11104 is applied through the input section of a solid state relay 11110 (SSR). This causes a current I Out Sense 2 to flow through the dummy load 11114. The current I Out Sense 2 flows out of the current sense terminal 11122 and is detected by the main processor 1902 as the V Sense signal. The dummy load 11114 comprises a first voltage divider network comprised of resistors R1-R4 and a second voltage divider network comprised of R5-R8. As previously described, the main processor 1902 reads the sensed voltage and current signals V Sense and I Sense to determine the operation of the voltage (V) and current (I) sensing function of the surgical tool.

    [0113] In one embodiment, the magnetically actuated element 1606, which works in conjunction with a magnet. As shown in figure 98, in one embodiment, a magnetically operated element may be implemented as a reed switch 11118. The reed switch 11118 electrically disconnects the battery power from the electronics system while it is held in a first state by the magnetic flux generated by the magnet. When the magnet is removed and the magnetic flux does not influence the reed switch 11118, battery power is connected to the electronics system and the system undergoes an initialization algorithm, as described hereinbelow.

    [0114] Certain sections of the hardware circuits may be shut down or placed in sleep mode to conserve energy and thus extend the life of the battery 1300. In particular, amplifier circuits associated with the injection of the test current and test voltage and sensing the output sense currents may be placed in sleep mode or periodically shut down to conserve energy.

    [0115] Figures 100-107 illustrate one embodiment of a shaft assembly 608 that may be employed with any of the various embodiments of the surgical tools 600, 700, 800, 900, 1000, 1100 described herein. It will be appreciated that a variety of articulation sections 612 may be employed for different configurations of the shaft assembly 608. Examples of a variety of articulation sections that may be employed with any of the surgical tools 600, 700, 800, 900, 1000, 1100 discussed herein can be found in the '660 Application. Some examples of articulation joint configurations such as (A) articulation sections with parallel support rails, (B) articulation section formed by molded joint, (C) beaded articulation section, and (D) articulation control configurations are described in the '660 Application.

    [0116] Figures 108-111 illustrate one embodiment of a shaft assembly 1200 comprising an articulation section 1206 that may be employed in any of the surgical tools 600, 700, 800, 900, 1000, 1100 described herein. As shown, the shaft assembly 1200 comprises a distal slip ring 1204 that enables just the distal end effector 1202 (jaws) to rotate and the rest of the shaft assembly 1200 will remain stationary. The distal slip ring 1202 will enable the user to address tissue planes distal to the articulation section 1206 with improved access, improved visibility, and easier dissection sealing. The distal slip ring 1204 allows continuous rotation of the end effector 1202 distal to the articulation section 1206 without loss of electrical continuity. A bearing surface 1208 at the distal bead is provided for reduced surface are contact. Additional articulation configurations are described in the '660 Application.

    [0117] Figure 112 illustrates one embodiment of an end effector 1302 that may be employed in a surgical tool 600, 700, 800, 900, 1000, 1100 described herein. The end effector 1302 comprises a top jaw 1304, a bottom jaw 1306, and a slot 1328 for the cutter element. In the illustrated embodiment, the bottom jaw 1306 comprises a projected wire 1329 to enable the surgical tool 600, 700, 800, 900, 1000, 1100 to operate both in mono-polar and bipolar and modes. In one embodiment, a mode switching circuit and mechanism may be provided.

    [0118] The various embodiments of the surgical tools 600, 700, 800, 900, 1000, 1100 discussed herein comprise motorized spools or rotatable bodies that are generally operated by power supplied by the robotic system 200 (figure 2). If additional power is required for tissue cutting and/or coagulation purposes, separate motors can be mounted inside the housing of the tool mounting portion 614, 714, 814, 914, 1014, 1114 in any suitable manner.

    [0119] The various embodiments of the surgical tools 600, 700, 800, 900, 1000, 1100 discussed above may comprise shaft assemblies 608, 708, 808, 908, 1008, 1108 and tool mounting portions 614, 714, 814, 914, 1014, 1114 that are disposable. In other embodiments, however, it is contemplated that the surgical tools 600, 700, 800, 900, 1000, 1100 be designed such that the shaft assemblies 608, 708, 808, 908, 1008, 1108 can easily be disassembled and disposed whereas the tool mounting portions 614, 714, 814, 914, 1014, 1114 can be reused after cleaning and re-sterilization.

    [0120] Some aspects may be described using the expression "coupled" and "connected" along with their derivatives. It should be understood that these terms are not intended as synonyms for each other. For example, some aspects may be described using the term "connected" to indicate that two or more elements are in direct physical or electrical contact with each other. In another example, some aspects may be described using the term "coupled" to indicate that two or more elements are in direct physical or electrical contact. The term "coupled," however, also may mean that two or more elements are not in direct contact with each other, but yet still co-operate or interact with each other.

    [0121] While the examples herein are described mainly in the context of electrosurgical instruments, it should be understood that the teachings herein may be readily applied to a variety of other types of medical instruments. By way of example only, the teachings herein may be readily applied to tissue graspers, tissue retrieval pouch deploying instruments, surgical staplers, ultrasonic surgical instruments, etc. It should also be understood that the teachings herein may be readily applied to any of the instruments described in any of the references cited herein, such that the teachings herein may be readily combined with the teachings of any of the references cited herein in numerous ways. Other types of instruments into which the teachings herein may be incorporated will be apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art.

    [0122] Embodiments of devices and components thereof disclosed herein have application in conventional endoscopic and open surgical instrumentation as well as application in robotic-assisted surgery. For instance, those of ordinary skill in the art will recognize that various teaching herein may be readily combined with various teachings of U.S. Pat. No. 6,783,524, entitled "Robotic Surgical Tool with Ultrasound Cauterizing and Cutting Instrument," published August 31, 2004.

    [0123] Embodiments of the devices disclosed herein can be designed to be disposed of after a single use, or they can be designed to be used multiple times. Embodiments may, in either or both cases, be reconditioned for reuse after at least one use. Reconditioning may include any combination of the steps of disassembly of the device, followed by cleaning or replacement of particular pieces, and subsequent reassembly. In particular, embodiments of the device may be disassembled, and any number of the particular pieces or parts of the device may be selectively replaced or removed in any combination. Upon cleaning and/or replacement of particular parts, embodiments of the device may be reassembled for subsequent use either at a reconditioning facility, or by a surgical team immediately prior to a surgical procedure. Those skilled in the art will appreciate that reconditioning of a device may utilize a variety of techniques for disassembly, cleaning/replacement, and reassembly. Use of such techniques, and the resulting reconditioned device, are all within the scope of the present application.

    [0124] By way of example only, embodiments described herein may be processed before surgery. First, a new or used instrument may be obtained and if necessary cleaned. The instrument may then be sterilized. In one sterilization technique, the instrument is placed in a closed and sealed container, such as a plastic or TYVEK bag. The container and instrument may then be placed in a field of radiation that can penetrate the container, such as gamma radiation, x-rays, or high-energy electrons. The radiation may kill bacteria on the instrument and in the container. The sterilized instrument may then be stored in the sterile container. The sealed container may keep the instrument sterile until it is opened in a medical facility. A device may also be sterilized using any other technique known in the art, including but not limited to beta or gamma radiation, ethylene oxide, or steam.

    [0125] Having shown and described various embodiments of devices and components thereof, further adaptations of the methods and systems described herein may be accomplished by appropriate modifications by one of ordinary skill in the art without departing from the scope of the present invention. Several of such potential modifications have been mentioned, and others will be apparent to those skilled in the art. For instance, the examples, embodiments, geometries, materials, dimensions, ratios, steps, and the like discussed above are illustrative and are not required. Accordingly, the scope of the present invention should be considered in terms of the following claims and is understood not to be limited to the details of structure and operation shown and described in the specification and drawings.

    [0126] While certain features of the aspects have been illustrated as described herein, many modifications, substitutions, changes and equivalents will now occur to those skilled in the art. It is therefore to be understood that the appended claims are intended to cover all such modifications and changes of the disclosed embodiments.


    Claims

    1. A surgical tool (900, 1100), comprising:

    a tool mounting portion (914, 1114) comprising a tool mounting housing (926), a tool mounting plate (918, 1118), a coupler (930) to couple a shaft assembly (908) comprising an articulation section (912) to the tool mounting portion and

    an articulation mechanism configured to receive a proximal end of the shaft assembly to articulate the articulation section of the shaft assembly; and

    an interface (916, 1116) to mechanically and electrically couple the tool mounting portion to a manipulator (308);

    wherein the articulation mechanism comprises a cam mechanism (984, 1184) operative to articulate the articulation section of the shaft assembly, and wherein the cam mechanism comprises:

    a dual cam comprising first and second cam portions (984A and 984B, 1184A and 1184B), the dual cam assembly coupled to a rotatable body (921, 1121), wherein the rotatable body is coupled to a driven element (920, 1120) adapted to rotatably couple to the interface;

    a first follower arm (986, 1186) having a first end operatively coupled to the first cam portion; and

    a second follower arm (988, 1188) having a first end operatively coupled to the second cam portion,

    wherein the first follower arm has a second end rotatably coupled to a first pivot spool (982, 1182) and the second follower arm has a second end rotatably coupled to a second pivot spool (982, 1182).


     
    2. The surgical tool of claim 1, further comprising first and second bushings (983, 985) mounted beneath the respective first and second follower arms to allow rotation of the shaft assembly without affecting articulating positions of the first and second follower arms.
     
    3. The surgical tool of claim 2, wherein the first and second bushings reciprocate with the corresponding first and second follower arms without affecting a rotation position of the shaft assembly.
     
    4. The surgical tool of claim 1, further comprising a shaft assembly rotation mechanism to control a rotation of the shaft assembly in a clockwise (CW) and counter-clockwise (CCW) direction.
     
    5. The surgical tool of claim 4, wherein the shaft assembly rotation mechanism comprises a first spiral worm gear (996, 1196) coupled to a rotatable body (921, 1121) and a second spiral worm gear (998, 1198) coupled to the shaft assembly, wherein the first spiral worm gear is meshed with the second spiral worm gear.
     
    6. The surgical tool of claim 4, wherein the shaft assembly rotation mechanism comprises:

    a gear (844) coupled to a rotatable body (821);

    a fixed post (868) comprising first and second openings (870);

    first and second rotatable pins (874) coupled to the shaft assembly; and

    a cable (872);

    wherein the cable is wrapped around the rotatable body and a first end of the cable is located through the first opening of the fixed post and fixedly coupled to the first rotatable pin and a second end of the cable is located through the second opening of the fixed post and fixedly coupled to the second rotating pin.


     
    7. The surgical tool of claim 1, further comprising at least one of a clamp jaw open/close and knife actuation mechanism, a limit switch (980, 1180), and a battery (1104) located within the tool mounting portion.
     
    8. The surgical tool of claim 7 when further comprising a clamp jaw open/close and knife actuation mechanism, wherein the clamp jaw open/close and knife actuation mechanism comprises a rack and pinion gearing mechanism.
     
    9. The surgical tool of claim 8 wherein the rack and pinion mechanism comprises a pinion gear (997, 1197) meshed with a rack gear (995, 1195) operatively coupled to an end effector (902).
     
    10. The surgical tool of claim 1, further comprising:

    at least one electrical contact;

    a handle; and

    a radio frequency (RF) generation circuit, wherein the radio frequency (RF) generation circuit is coupled to the handle and operable to generate an RF drive signal and to provide the RF drive signal to the at least one electrical contact and wherein the RF generation circuit comprises a parallel resonant circuit (1817).


     
    11. The surgical tool of claim 10, wherein the RF generation circuit comprises switching circuitry that generates a cyclically varying signal, such as a square wave signal, from a direct current (DC) supply and wherein the resonant circuit is configured to receive the cyclically varying signal and wherein the cyclically varying signal is duty cycle modulated.
     
    12. The surgical tool of claim 1, further comprising:
    a shaft assembly (908) operatively coupled to the tool mounting portion, the shaft assembly comprising an articulation section (912) and an end effector (902).
     
    13. The surgical tool of claim 12, further comprising a distal slip ring (1204) located at the proximal end of the end effector beyond a distal end of the articulation section.
     
    14. The surgical tool of claim 12, further comprising a projected wire (1329) coupled to the end effector.
     


    Ansprüche

    1. Chirurgisches Werkzeug (900, 1100), umfassend:

    einen Werkzeugbefestigungsteil (914, 1114), der ein Werkzeugbefestigungsgehäuse (926), eine Werkzeugbefestigungsplatte (918, 1118), einen Koppler (930) zum Koppeln einer einen Gelenkabschnitt (912) umfassenden Schaftanordnung (908) an den Werkzeugbefestigungsteil umfasst, und

    einen Gelenkmechanismus, der dazu konfiguriert ist, ein proximales Ende der Schaftanordnung zum Schwenken des Gelenkabschnitts der Schaftanordnung aufzunehmen; und

    eine Schnittstelle (916, 1116) zum mechanischen und elektrischen Koppeln des Werkzeugbefestigungsteils an einen Manipulator (308);

    wobei der Gelenkmechanismus einen Nockenmechanismus (984, 1184) umfasst, der dazu betrieben werden kann, den Gelenkabschnitt der Schaftanordnung zu schwenken, und

    wobei der Nockenmechanismus Folgendes umfasst:

    einen Doppelnocken, der einen ersten und einen zweiten Nockenteil (984A und 984B, 1184A und 1184B) umfasst, wobei die Doppelnockenanordnung mit einem drehbaren Körper (921, 1121) gekoppelt ist, wobei der drehbare Körper mit einem angetriebenen Element (920, 1120) gekoppelt ist, das zur drehbaren Kopplung mit der Schnittstelle ausgeführt ist;

    einen ersten Folgerarm (986, 1186), der ein erstes Ende aufweist, der mit dem ersten Nockenteil wirkgekoppelt ist; und

    einen zweiten Folgerarm (988, 1188), der ein erstes Ende aufweist, das mit dem zweiten Nockenteil wirkgekoppelt ist,

    wobei der erste Folgerarm ein zweites Ende aufweist, das mit einer ersten Schwenkrolle (982, 1182) drehbar gekoppelt ist, und der zweite Folgerarm ein zweites Ende aufweist, das mit einer zweiten Schwenkrolle (982, 1182) drehbar gekoppelt ist.


     
    2. Chirurgisches Instrument nach Anspruch 1, ferner umfassend eine erste und eine zweite Buchse (983, 985), die unterhalb des ersten bzw. zweiten Folgerarms befestigt sind, um eine Drehung der Schaftanordnung ohne Beeinflussung von Gelenkpositionen des ersten und zweiten Folgerarms zu gestatten.
     
    3. Chirurgisches Instrument nach Anspruch 2, wobei sich die erste und die zweite Buchse mit dem entsprechenden ersten und zweiten Folgerarm hin und her bewegen, ohne eine Drehposition der Schaftanordnung zu beeinflussen.
     
    4. Chirurgisches Instrument nach Anspruch 1, ferner umfassend einen Schaftanordnungsdrehmechanismus zum Steuern einer Drehung der Schaftanordnung im Uhrzeigersinn (CW) und Gegenuhrzeigersinn (CCW).
     
    5. Chirurgisches Instrument nach Anspruch 4, wobei der Schaftanordnungsdrehmechanismus ein erstes Spiral-Schneckenrad (996, 1196), das mit einem drehbaren Körper (921, 1121) gekoppelt ist, und ein zweites Spiral-Schneckenrad (998, 1198), das mit der Schaftanordnung gekoppelt ist, umfasst, wobei das erste Spiral-Schneckenrad mit dem zweiten Spiral-Schneckenrad kämmt.
     
    6. Chirurgisches Instrument nach Anspruch 4, wobei der Schaftanordnungsdrehmechanismus Folgendes umfasst:

    ein Zahnrad (844), das mit einem drehbaren Körper (821) gekoppelt ist;

    einen festgelegten Zapfen (868), der eine erste und eine zweite Öffnung (870) umfasst;

    einen ersten und einen zweiten drehbaren Stift (874), der mit der Schaftanordnung gekoppelt ist; und

    ein Kabel (872);

    wobei das Kabel um den drehbaren Körper gewickelt ist und ein erstes Ende des Kabels durch die erste Öffnung des festgelegten Zapfens positioniert ist und fest mit dem ersten drehbaren Stift gekoppelt ist, und ein zweites Ende des Kabels durch die zweite Öffnung des festgelegten Zapfens positioniert ist und fest mit dem zweiten Drehstift gekoppelt ist.


     
    7. Chirurgisches Instrument nach Anspruch 1, ferner umfassend mindestens eines von einem Klemmbackenöffnungs-/-schließ- und Messerbetätigungsmechanismus, einem Grenzschalter (980, 1180) und einer Batterie (1104), die sich in dem Werkzeugbefestigungsteil befindet.
     
    8. Chirurgisches Instrument nach Anspruch 7, wobei, wenn es mindestens eines von einem Klemmbackenöffnungs-/-schließ- und Messerbetätigungsmechanismus umfasst, der Klemmbackenöffnungs-/-schließ- und Messerbetätigungsmechanismus einen Zahnstangengetriebemechanismus umfasst.
     
    9. Chirurgisches Instrument nach Anspruch 8, wobei der Zahnstangengetriebemechanismus ein Ritzel (997, 1197) umfasst, das mit einer mit einem Endeffektor (902) wirkgekoppelten Zahnstange (995, 1195) kämmt.
     
    10. Chirurgisches Instrument nach Anspruch 1, ferner umfassend:

    mindestens einen elektrischen Kontakt;

    einen Griff; und

    eine Hochfrequenzerzeugungsschaltung (HF-Erzeugungsschaltung), wobei die Hochfrequenzerzeugungsschaltung (HF-Erzeugungsschaltung) mit dem Griff gekoppelt ist und dazu betreibbar ist, ein HF-Antriebssignal zu erzeugen und das HF-Antriebssignal dem mindestens einen elektrischen Kontakt zuzuführen, und wobei die HF-Erzeugungsschaltung einen Parallelschwingkreis (1817) umfasst.


     
    11. Chirurgisches Instrument nach Anspruch 10, wobei die HF-Erzeugungsschaltung eine Schaltungsanordnung umfasst, die ein zyklisch variierendes Signal, wie zum Beispiel ein Rechtecksignal, von einer Gleichstromversorgung (DC-Versorgung) erzeugt, und wobei der Schwingkreis dazu konfiguriert ist, das zyklisch variierende Signal zu empfangen, und wobei das zyklisch variierende Signal Tastverhältnis-moduliert ist.
     
    12. Chirurgisches Instrument nach Anspruch 1, ferner umfassend:
    eine Schaftanordnung (908), die mit dem Werkzeugbefestigungsteil wirkgekoppelt ist, wobei die Schaftanordnung einen Gelenkabschnitt (912) und einen Endeffektor (902) umfasst.
     
    13. Chirurgisches Instrument nach Anspruch 12, ferner umfassend einen distalen Schleifring (1204), der an dem proximalen Ende des Endeffektors hinter einem distalen Ende des Gelenkabschnitts positioniert ist.
     
    14. Chirurgisches Instrument nach Anspruch 12, ferner umfassend einen vorragenden Draht (1329), der mit dem Endeffektor gekoppelt ist.
     


    Revendications

    1. Outil chirurgical (900, 1100), comprenant :

    une partie (914, 1114) de montage d'outil comprenant un logement (926) de montage d'outil, une plaque (918, 1118) de montage d'outil, un élément d'accouplement (930) pour accoupler un ensemble arbre (908) comprenant une section articulation (912) avec la partie de montage d'outil et

    un mécanisme d'articulation conçu pour recevoir une extrémité proximale de l'ensemble arbre pour articuler la section articulation de l'ensemble arbre ; et

    une interface (916, 1116) pour relier mécaniquement et électriquement la partie de montage d'outil à un organe manipulateur (308) ;

    dans lequel le mécanisme d'articulation comprend un mécanisme de came (984, 1184) fonctionnant pour articuler la section articulation de l'ensemble arbre, et dans lequel le mécanisme de came comprend :

    une came double comprenant des première et seconde parties de came (984A et 984B, 1184A et 1184B), l'ensemble came double étant accouplé à un corps rotatif (921, 1121), le corps rotatif étant accouplé à un élément entraîné (920, 1120) conçu pour s'accoupler avec faculté de rotation à l'interface ;

    un premier bras suiveur (986, 1186) possédant une première extrémité accouplée fonctionnellement à la première partie de came ; et

    un second bras suiveur (988, 1188) possédant une première extrémité accouplée fonctionnellement à la seconde partie de came,

    dans lequel le premier bras suiveur possède une seconde extrémité accouplée avec faculté de rotation à un premier corps de pivot (982, 1182) et le second bras suiveur possède une seconde extrémité accouplée avec faculté de rotation à un second corps de pivot (982, 1182) .


     
    2. Outil chirurgical selon la revendication 1, comprenant en outre des premier et second raccords (983, 985) montés au-dessous des premier et second bras suiveurs respectifs pour permettre une rotation de l'ensemble arbre sans affecter des positions d'articulation des premier et second bras suiveurs.
     
    3. Outil chirurgical selon la revendication 2, dans lequel les premier et second raccords sont animés d'un mouvement de va-et-vient avec les premier et second bras suiveurs correspondants sans affecter une position de rotation de l'ensemble arbre.
     
    4. Outil chirurgical selon la revendication 1, comprenant en outre un mécanisme de rotation de l'ensemble arbre pour commander une rotation de l'ensemble arbre dans un sens horaire (CW) et antihoraire (CCW).
     
    5. Outil chirurgical selon la revendication 4, dans lequel le mécanisme de rotation de l'ensemble arbre comprend un premier engrenage à vis sans fin en spirale (996, 1196) accouplé à un corps rotatif (921, 1121) et un second engrenage à vis sans fin en spirale (998, 1198) accouplé à l'ensemble arbre, dans lequel le premier engrenage à vis sans fin en spirale est engrené avec le second engrenage à vis sans fin en spirale.
     
    6. Outil chirurgical selon la revendication 4, dans lequel le mécanisme de rotation de l'ensemble arbre comprend :

    une roue (844) accouplée à un corps rotatif (821) ;

    un montant fixe (868) comprenant des première et seconde ouvertures (870) ;

    des première et seconde broches rotatives (874) accouplées à l'ensemble arbre ; et

    un câble (872) ;

    dans lequel le câble est enroulé autour du corps rotatif et une première extrémité du câble est située à travers la première ouverture du montant fixe et accouplée à demeure à la première broche rotative et une seconde extrémité du câble est située à travers la seconde ouverture du montant fixe et accouplée à demeure à la seconde broche rotative.


     
    7. Outil chirurgical selon la revendication 1, comprenant en outre un mécanisme d'ouverture/fermeture de mâchoires de pince et d'actionnement de bistouri et/ou un disjoncteur (980, 1180) et/ou une batterie (1104) se trouvant dans la partie de montage d'outil.
     
    8. Outil chirurgical selon la revendication 7 comprenant en outre un mécanisme d'ouverture/fermeture de mâchoires de pince et d'actionnement de bistouri, dans lequel le mécanisme d'ouverture/fermeture de mâchoires de pince et d'actionnement de bistouri comprend un mécanisme d'engrenage à pignon et crémaillère.
     
    9. Outil chirurgical selon la revendication 8 dans lequel le mécanisme d'engrenage à pignon et crémaillère comprend un pignon (997, 1197) engrené avec une crémaillère (995, 1195) accouplée fonctionnellement à un effecteur terminal (902).
     
    10. Outil chirurgical selon la revendication 1, comportant en outre :

    au moins un contact électrique ;

    une poignée ; et

    un circuit de génération de radiofréquence (RF), le circuit de génération de radiofréquence (RF) étant couplé à la poignée et servant à produire un signal d'attaque RF et à fournir le signal d'attaque RF à l'au moins un contact électrique et dans lequel le circuit de génération RF comprend un circuit résonnant parallèle (1817).


     
    11. Outil chirurgical selon la revendication 10, dans lequel le circuit de génération RF comprend un montage de circuits de commutation qui génère un signal à variation cyclique, tel qu'un signal à onde carrée, provenant d'une alimentation en courant continu (c.c.) et dans lequel le circuit résonnant est configuré pour recevoir le signal à variation cyclique et dans lequel le signal à variation cyclique est à modulation de cycle opératoire.
     
    12. Outil chirurgical selon la revendication 1, comportant en outre :
    un ensemble arbre (908) accouplé fonctionnellement à la partie de montage d'outil, l'ensemble arbre comprenant une section articulation (912) et un effecteur terminal (902).
     
    13. Outil chirurgical selon la revendication 12, comprenant en outre une bague coulissante distale (1204) située à l'extrémité proximale de l'effecteur terminal au-delà d'une extrémité distale de la section articulation.
     
    14. Outil chirurgical selon la revendication 12, comprenant en outre un fil saillant (1329) couplé à l'effecteur terminal.
     




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    Cited references

    REFERENCES CITED IN THE DESCRIPTION



    This list of references cited by the applicant is for the reader's convenience only. It does not form part of the European patent document. Even though great care has been taken in compiling the references, errors or omissions cannot be excluded and the EPO disclaims all liability in this regard.

    Patent documents cited in the description