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Compliant Grasperminimally invasive surgerySafe ClutchingTissue Clutching


The invention relates to a compliant grasper able to safely and effectively clutch tissue during minimally invasive surgery. It features two passively morphing jaws: upon clutching, they adaptively increases the contact area with tissue, thus reduces the stress applied therein. Thanks to its intrinsic compliance, the adaptively morphing grasper can engage with tissue more respectfully than conventional rigid jaw graspers.

Technical features

The present surgical instrument comprises a distal end effector, devised to grasp or retract soft tissue, compatible with both robotics (teleoperated) and traditional (manual) laparoscopic surgery. The distal portion includes a back support (BS) with a deformable profile, and a deformable front element (FE) more compliant than back support.

When clutching tissue, the end effector morphs by deforming along the transversal direction (i.e. perpendicular to the tool shaft), so as to increase the contact area. The end effector exerts clutch forces (F) large enough to achieve effective grasping, while fostering safe tool-tissue interaction thanks to stress redistribution during morphing. Its implementation does not increase tool complexity, since it relies on passive deformation (no additional sensing/actuation units are needed).

Possible Applications

  • Graspers for tissue clutching during minimally invasive surgery;
  • Compliant (soft material) grasper for handling delicate objects;


  • Safety intrinsically enabled by compliance; effectiveness guaranteed by stiffness design;
  • Transversal deformation fosters miniaturization and tissue clutching effectiveness;
  • Fully passive; could be implemented as distal add-on to conventional tool shafts;
  • Can also be implemented by standard additive manufacturing and casting.