Medical Product Manufacturing News reports that a Harvard research team has developed a rigid/soft robotic arm for endoscopic surgery. Mounted on an endoscope, the device remains flat while navigating narrow body passages. The rigid operational elements then fold out once at the surgery site. Inspired by pop-up manufacturing techniques, this innovation overcomes limitations inherent in the use of traditional rigid endoscopic surgery tools. Postdoctoral fellow Sheila Russo explained that the soft fluid microactuators on the rigid structure provide the power and control necessary to perform delicate surgery, as well as the flexibility to wriggle through tight spaces. Capacitive sensing mechanisms measure applied force, giving surgeons a better idea of where and how the arm is moving. The researchers have shown that the device can be reduced to one millimeter, enabling its use in lung and brain surgery. They hope to begin in vivo tests in the near future.