Gastrointestinal cancer, when detected early, is treated by accessing the lesion through the natural orifice using flexible endoscopes. However, the limited degree-of-freedom (DOF) of conventional treatment devices and the narrow surgical view through the endoscope demand advanced techniques. In contrast, multi-DOF forceps systems are an excellent alternative; however, these systems often involve high fabrication costs because they require a large number of micro-parts. To solve this problem, we designed compact multi-DOF endoluminal forceps with a monolithic structure comprising compliant hinges. To allow an efficient stress dispersion at the base end when the hinge bends, we proposed a novel design method to obtain the hinge parameters using the beam of uniform strength theory. This method does not involve a high computational cost. The results show that the improved design with a variable hinge thickness can reduce the maximum bending stress, dispersing the stress in a larger area than that of the previous design considering a constant thickness of the hinge. Moreover, the experiments conducted in a prototype confirm that the radius of the curvature was significantly improved. The proposed method could aid in designing other continuum robots relying on compliant hinges.
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