Revolutionizing Medtech Devices with Piezo LEGS® Technology

How can MedTech devices benefit from Piezo LEGS? 

 In the ever-evolving world of medical technology (MedTech), precision and reliability are paramount. Piezo LEGS technology has emerged over the last 20 years as a game-changer in various industries, and is now available for MedTech applications, offering numerous advantages that can significantly benefit such devices.

This article explores what is behind this innovative technology and how it can elevate the performance of medical devices, ensuring patient safety and enhancing overall functionality. 

 What is the Piezo LEGS technology? 

 Piezo LEGS motors – proprietary technology from Acuvi, often referred to as “walking” piezo motors, are a unique and innovative type of piezoelectric motor designed for precise and  controlled linear motion (Figure 1). These motors derive their name from the way they move, resembling the walking motion of legs.

Their operation is based on the principles of piezoelectricity and friction. The core of a Piezo LEGS motor consists of multiple piezoelectric actuators arranged in a specific configuration (Figure 2). These actuators are in-house designed and manufactured, unique piezoelectric ceramics.

Piezo LEGS technology illustration
Piezo LEGS technology illustration

The LEGS motor system has a true direct drive, meaning that the object to be moved is directly connected to the piezoceramic actuator legs in the motor via the drive rod of the motor. This enables short cycle times in repeated move-and-settle applications reducing overall processing time.

Piezo LEGS work with friction drive, where force is created by the internal preload of the piezoceramic actuator legs in direct friction contact with the rotor or drive rod. When the legs start walking, they are always in mechanical contact with the drive rod. 

How can MedTech devices benefit from Piezo LEGS? 

One of the most striking advantages of Piezo LEGS technology in MedTech is its unparalleled precision down to the nanometer scale. This precision is critical in applications such as surgical robots, fluid handling in laboratory automation, handhold or desktop drug delivery devices, and procedures with real-time imaging solutions where even the slightest inaccuracies can have dire consequences. With Piezo LEGS, medical procedures become more accurate and less invasive, reducing patient trauma and recovery times.

Higher stroke

Compared to conventional piezo actuators, Piezo LEGS technology offers several magnitudes higher stroke. Its extended range provides movement up to 10 centimeters, which enables the development of innovative medical devices with greater flexibility and functionality. This advantage opens doors to new possibilities in MedTech, broadening the scope of what can be achieved. 

No backlash and self locking without power draw

Traditional electrical motor-based systems often suffer from backlash – a play or delay in motion when the direction changes. Piezo LEGS technology eliminates this issue entirely. The absence of backlash ensures that MedTech devices respond instantly to commands, enhancing the overall user experience and enabling more precise control during procedures. Furthermore, Piezo LEGS motors come with a built-in brake mechanism, adding an extra layer of safety and control. In critical medical applications, this feature can be a lifesaver. 

Piezo LEGSTM family of standard 6.5N-40N linear micro motors compared to an AirPod

Unparalleled size to force ratio

Piezo LEGS motors can be equipped with integrated encoders, providing a compact solution where space is a critical factor. The closed loop operation with precise positioning control is invaluable in MedTech, as it enhances device accuracy and  reliability. Moreover, the elimination of gearboxes simplifies device design, reducing maintenance requirements and the risk of component failure. This streamlined approach not only lowers manufacturing costs but also increases device lifespan. 

Perhaps the most critical advantage of Piezo LEGS technology in MedTech is the assurance of patient safety. With precise control, no backlash, and integrated brakes, the risk of accidental injuries during medical procedures is significantly reduced. Surgeons can operate with confidence, knowing that the devices respond exactly as intended. Additionally, the complete movement control provided by Piezo LEGS ensures that delicate tasks, such as tissue manipulation or drug delivery, can be performed with exceptional accuracy and minimal risk. 

The future of MedTech with LEGS 

In the realm of MedTech, precision, reliability, and patient safety are non-negotiable. Piezo LEGS technology embodies these qualities and offers numerous benefits that can transform the landscape of medical devices. From surgical robots to diagnostic tools, the future of MedTech is brighter and more precise thanks to this innovative technology. 

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