US 3834021 A
A tool system for cutting, clamping, positioning, stretching and other tool functions precisely, and particularly in deep or narrow cavities, which may be operated by one hand, and particularly by a set of intrinsic hand muscles which permit sensitive and accurate tool control without fatigue, which is especially useful in microsurgical work and miniature electronic assembly, and in which a support may be carried by the hand or its digits to receive interchangeable tools that lie between and are controlled by at least two digits of the hand.
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
llnited States Patent 91 White et al.
[ Sept. 10, 1974 1 PRECISION INSTRUMENT SYSTEM  Inventors: Robert W. White, 87-89 Columbia St., New York, NY. 1002; W. Bradford De Long, 139 14th Ave., San Francisco, Calif. 94118 22 Filed: Jan. 24, 1973 21 Appl. No.: 326,500
 US. Cl 30/232, 30/249, 128/318,
294/25  Int. Cl B26b 13/16, B26b 13/26  Field of Search 30/124, 232, 245, 246,
30/249, 291, 298; 128/309, 318, 321, 346, 354; 294/25, 100; 81/43; 24/3 A, 208 A, 81 AD; 224/28 R, 28 F, 28 G  References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 503,011 8/1893 Stathem 224/28 F 1,997,851 4/1935 Botts 30/298 X 2,137,710 11/1938 Anderson... 128/321 2,846,766 8/1958 Hatter 30/341 3,372,477 3/1968 Hoppe 30/124 FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS 1,037,403 4/1953 France 128/309 Primary Examiner-Al Lawrence Smith Assistant Examiner.l. C. Peters Attorney, Agent, or Firml(enyon & Kenyon Reilly Carr [5 7] ABSTRACT A tool system for cutting, clamping, positioning, stretching and other tool functions precisely, and particularly in deep or narrow cavities, which may be operated by one hand, and particularly by a set of intrinsic hand muscles which permit sensitive and accurate tool control without fatigue, which is especially useful in microsurgical work and miniature electronic assembly, and in which a support may be carried by the hand or its digits to receive interchangeable tools that lie between and are controlled by at least two digits of the hand.
26 Claims, 3 Drawing Figures PRECISION INSTRUMENT SYSTEM BACKGROUND OF THE DISCLOSURE The concern for providing a surgical tool which may be firmly and comfortably fitted to the hand for precision operation is evidenced by the Harter U.S. Pat. No. 2,846,766 for scissors with flexible handles that were designed to permit a surgeon to get a secure grip on the snips, and the Hoppe U.S. Pat. No. 3,372,477 teaches a tool for both cutting and holding a suture which may be held in one hand and thumb operated.
The general background of the cutting tool art includes those devices designed for agricultural uses such as taught by the Cole and French Pat. No. 222,244, which discloses a cutting instrument comprising a shank extension with a hooked stationary blade (a) at its outer end to which moving blade (e) is pivotably attached and powered in a scissors motion by a linkage rod (m) which is connected to a movable barrel or handle (n) which is slidable with respect to the shank (c), the blade being urged to open position by resilient spring (g). See also Hill and Young U.S. Pat. No. 992,561 and Page U.S. Pat. No. 2,376,002.
The Stockton and Willimon U.S. Pat. No. 1,104,573 evidences the past practice of attaching a hand tool to the hand as by strap (18), and tools for one-hand use are, of course, well known; see, for example, Berger and Berger U.S. Pat. No. 3,481,641 which illustrates a simple grasping instrument.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION A guiding conception of the applicants precision instrument system has been the provision of an operating mechanism for a series of tools (cutting, clamping, sawing, sewing, stretching, clipping, holding, etc.) which could be controlled through the digits by the delicate intrinsic muscles of the hand. Additionally, the tool itself may be supported by the wrist muscles through attachment to the hand, as by an elastic strap carrying appropriate support means.
The control muscles used by this system are those which are typically developed from childhood, for example, by writing, and the employment of the applicants system permits this highly developed skill to be used in delicate surgical, assembly and other tasks.
The instrument system is also designed so that the operating plane of the cutting, clamping or other tool operating motion may be adjusted 360 by simply rolling the round tool barrel between two digits of the hand, and so that the digital movement used to control and operate the tool remains the same regardless of the angular orientation given to the cutting or other motion of the tool.
The tool is designed so that it may be stabilized by an extension held against the palm or stabilized and supported by the hand by a ball which may be snapped to a socket carried on an elastic strap or gloove which snugly fits the hand. The strap or glove may be custom made to fit the hand, and of a material which may be sterilized. A variety of tools may be interchangeably attached with one hand by snapping their balls into and out of the socket carried by the strap or glove, or otherwise by the hand.
attached by a strap to a hand and held as it might be in use.
FIG. 2 is a cross-sectional view of the instrument system, except for the strap and glove.
FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a tool portion of the instrument system.
DESCRIPTION The instrument system comprises a working tool arm portion which is exemplified in FIGS. 1 and 2 as scissor-type cutting blades. A fixed blade 2 (shown best in FIG. 2) is integral with rod 4 which carries threads 6 at its inner end and is adjustably screwably positioned within the threaded portion 7 of the receptacle 8 which, in one embodiment, carries a ball 10 adapted to be snapped into and out of socket 12 carried on a backing plate 14 attached (as by adhesive) to an elastic strap 16 or its glove equivalent which snugly fits the surgeons or tool workers hand 18.
The receptacle 8 is fabricated or formed to provide hollow tubular guide 20 which is generally concentric with the threaded position 7 of the receptacle 8 and which extends generally along and about the rod 4.
A sliding barrel 22 rides on the tubular guide 20. A swinging blade 26 is pivotably mounted to the fixed blade 2 at pivot 28. The sliding barrel 22 is operably connected to the swinging blade 26 by linkage 14, which is pivotably attached to the swinging blade at pivot 30 and to the sliding barrel at pivot 32.
Resilient spring 34 extends between a shoulder 36 on the outwardly facing end of receptacle 8, and an in wardly facing shoulder 38 on sliding barrel 22.
As shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, spring 34 urges the sliding barrel outwardly, and the swinging blade 22 toward an open position.
As can be seen in FIG. 2, the reciprocation of the sliding barrel 22 will be stopped by interference with the linkage 14 or the end of the swinging blade 26. Alternatively, a stop for the sliding barrel may be positioned along the length of the rigid blade 2.
In one alternative embodiment, the instrument system is equipped with a clamping tool in which the tool arms include a fixed clamp surface 42 and swinging clamp surface 40 as shown in FIG. 3, in which the construction of the tool arms carrying the clamp surfaces is shown as being such that the spring 34 urges the clamp surfaces into a clamping position.
In another alternative embodiment, the receptacle 8 may be provided with a modified form designed to rest in the web of the users hand between the thumb and finger in place of the ball 10. For example, it may be provided with a pistol-shaped handle providing pivotal and rotable freedom of movement to the fixed tool arm about a stable point of rotation and as might be provided by a ball and socket joint, or simply a right angle swivel extension. In use, the modified form of fixed tool arm is held to or against the web of the hand by spring 34 (which spring may not be omitted in this alternative embodiment).
In either case, the ball 10 or the piston shaped handle may act as a pivot at the inner end of the tool, which permits more accurate positioning and movement of the tool at the operating end particularly if the hand which is adjacent the pivot is steadied against an object or surface.
In use, the elastic strap 16 or its equivalent, for example, a closed or open glove, is fitted to the hand. The fit should be snug so as to provide a stable mount for the socket 112. For the same purpose, the mounting plate 14 should be made large so as to prevent any relative moving or rotating between the socket 12 and the elastic strap 16 or glove.
In another embodiment, the socket or mount may be carried at the inner portion of one, but preferably at least two digits, for example between a pair of interconnected finger rings, and for ease of reference this is also referred to herein as being a mount carried by the hand of said digits. In some surgical procedures, it may be desirable to remove the mount at certain times and the use of removable rings facilitates this. In summary, tool control is achieved by the applicants device with various types of mounts, including even a pistol or right angle extension designed to rest in the web of the hand.
The selected tool is then mounted to the socket 12 by its ball 10. Socket 12 may be made of teflon or other material which is self lubricating and which securely grips the ball, or otherwise as is known in the ball and socket art. The particular tool used during an operation may be changed many times but, because of standardization in construction, the feel and control of each tool will remain the same.
It will be understood that although this instrument system may be securely mounted to the hand in use, even in this embodiment a variety of tools can be substituted conveniently, and can be substituted in a onehanded operation in which the hand to which the instrument system is mounted may itself exchange systems (without the aid of the other hand, which may remain engaged). The sliding barrel 22 of the tool to be replaced is reciprocated outward (by the hand to which it is attached) until it meets a stop or interfere with the linkage l4, and thereupon additional movement pulls ball from its socket 12. Similarly, a new tool may be inserted by moving the sliding barrel 22 of the tool to be used inward until the linkage 14 is fully extended or until the shoulder 38 on the barrel 22 interfers with shoulder 39 on the recepticle 8, whichever first occurs, whereupon further movement will cause the ball 10 to slip to the socket 12. The tools may in this manner by interchanged even if each hand is provided with a socket, and one hand may be employed while the other hand exchanges the tool which may have been attached to it.
Once the tool is mounted on the socket to the hand, or, in the modified form, for example, once the piston grip is held to the web of the hand, that tool may be rotated between the digits, perhaps most conveniently between the thymb and the first end second fingers, so that the cutting clamping or tool operation will take place in the desired plane. Again, the operation and feel of the instrument system remains the same regardless of the angular orientation given to the cutting, clamping or other working operation.
The resilient forces of the spring 34 may be adjusted by screwing the rod 4 into or out of the threaded portion 7 of the receptacle 8. If desired, the spring 34 may be omitted altogether and the barrel reciprocated both in and out between digits of the hand as described below. It may be preferred to adjust all of the tools to have the same relative compression of the springs 34, so that the control feel will remain the same even though many different working heads may be exchanged and used, but if it is desired to have some tools bear a stronger force than others, the instrument system can readily accomplish this.
The cutting, clamping, stretching or other operating movement of the tool is controlled by pulling two or more digits of the hand holding the tool about the sliding barrel 22 thereof inward to close the blades and clamps (as shown in FIGS. 1 and 2) to hold the barrel or to open them (by the alternative shown in FIG. 3). The opposite movement is achieved by extending the digits permitting the spring 34 to reciprocate barrel 22 outward. One preferred teaching is to use the thumb 50 and the index or first finger 52 and the second finger 54. As shown generally in FIG. 1 by this teaching, the movements are somewhat similar to those performed by the fingers in writing (as may be understood by taking a pencil in hand and observing its motions in writing). Another teaching is to use the first finger 52 and the second finger 54, with the barrel 22 lying between them.
The weight of the tool in the typical operating position is carried by the socket, and supported by the stronger muscles or the wrist, and the fingers with their intrinsic muscles of the hand are typically free to control the tools movement, and to do so without fatigue.
The system is particularly adapted for precision operation, even on a microscopic scale, since one tool arm is rigid, and is not moved during the operating procedure which is an aid in precisely positioning the tool for operation in a precisely determined location.
It will be understood that the tenn fixed tool arm is used herein to include the fixed blade 2, or the fixed clamp 42, and any other fixed tool element and that the swinging tool arm is used herein to include the swinging blade 26 or the swinging clamp 40 and any other swinging tool element.
It will be understood that particularly useful applications of this instrument system are for surgeons utilizing the operating microscope, a group which includes certain neurosurgeons, ophthamologists, otolaryngologists and plastic surgeons, and that it may also be used in the electronic industry where certain operations require precision work in soldering or circuit assembly.
It will also be understood that the sliding barrel 22 of the instrument system is designed to lie in a pencil" grip. In this position, in gripping the barrel ever more tightly it is natural in a normal hand to grip it with balanced and opposed forces that the force so of gripping does not cause any movement in the operating ends of the tool arms. It is only in extending or retracting the barrel that the forces of the digits of the hand do not substantially balance out. Similarly, this same balancing of forces takes place in the embodiment wherein the sliding barrel 22 lies between the first and second fingers.
1. An instrument system which comprises a fixed tool arm having a first mounting means positioned at its inner end, a movable tool arm, said movable tool arm adapted to move adjacent to and in cooperation with said fixed tool arm; a sliding barrel, said barrel adapted to reciprocate about said fixed tool arm and operably connected to said movable tool arm second mounting means secured to the hand and forming a pivot for said first mounting means, said fixed tool arm held to the hand by the cooperative action between said first mounting means and said second mounting means, when said barrel is held by the digits of said hand in normal operating position.
2. The instrument system of claim 1 in which the pivot formed by said second mounting means acts as a pivot about which the tool may be rotated by the digits of that same hand so as to permit more accurate positioning of the operating end of the fixed tool arm.
3. The instrument system of claim 2 in which the operating plane of the tool arms may be rotated without changing the feel or grip of the system in the hand.
4. The instrument system of claim 3 in which said fixed tool is pivotally mounted to said movable tool arm whereby the operating movement of the tool arms is scissorlike.
S. The instrument system of claim 2 in which said first mounting means comprises a ball and in which said second mounting means is a socket.
6. The instrument system of claim 5 in which the socket is mounted to a glove'like fitting over the hand.
7. The instrument system of claim 1 in which said first mounting means is assisted in its cooperative action with said second mounting means by a spring itself restrained by said barrel.
8. The instrument system of claim 1 in which the movable tool arm is pivotably attached to the fixed tool arm.
9. The instrument system of claim 8 in which the movable tool arm is operably connected to the sliding barrel by a linkage pivotably attached at one end to the movable arm and pivotably attached at the other end to said barrel.
10. The instrument system of claim 1 in which the sliding barrel is resiliently urged outward with respect to said fixed tool arm, so that it may be moved inwardly by digital pressure.
11. The instrument system of claim 7 which further comprises means for adjusting the amount said spring means contributes to said cooperative action.
12. A precision instrument system which comprises a fixed tool arm; a swinging tool arm pivotally mounted to said fixed tool arm; said fixed arm having first mounting means positioned at its inner end; second mounting means secured to the hand and forming a pivot for said first mounting means, said fixed tool arm held to the hand by the cooperative action between said first mounting means and said second mounting means; a sliding barrel adapted to reciprocate about said tool arm; said swinging tool arm being operably connected to said sliding barrel.
13. The precision instrument system of claim 12 in which the sliding barrel is adapted to be gripped for reciprocation by two or more digits of the hand to which the rigid tool arm is held adjacent.
14. The precision instrument system of claim 12 in which the sliding barrel is urged outwardly by a resilient spring.
15. The precision instrument system of claim 14 in which said second mounting means is stabilized by being held adjacent to a human hand in a fixed point of rotation that does not change during operating actuation of the tool.
16. The precision instrument system of claim 15 in which the cooperative action between said first and second mounting means permits free rotational movement whereby the fixed and swinging tool arms may be angularly rotated by two digits of the hand for reciprocating said sliding barrel.
17. The precision instrument system of claim 16 in which the sliding barrel is adapted to be pressured by digits of said hand so that in operation, said digits act with forces which are opposed in all directions but that needed to produce the desired degree of tool arm movement so that the movement of the tool is predictable, and relatively unaffected by the tightness or tension with which the tool is held.
18. The precision instrument system of claim 17 in which said digits comprise the thumb and at least the first fingers of said hands.
19. The precision instrument system of claim 17 in which the reciprocation of said barre] does not affect the position or movement of the fixed tool arm in any way.
20. The precision instrument system which comprises a first tool arm having a working end portion, said first tool arm being adjustably received in a threaded receptacle, said receptacle being detachably mounted to a flexible material which is adapted to mount to a human hand to provide a pivotal and secure support for the first tool arm; a second tool arm having a working end portion, said second tool arm pivotably attached to said first tool arm; a sliding barrel adapted for reciprocation about a portion of the first tool arm, said sliding barrel adapted to be held in a pencil grip by the thumb and fingers of the hand to which the flexible material is adapted to be fit, said barrel operably connected to said second tool arm, the working end portions of the first and second tool arms interconnected to the sliding barrel such that relative movement between said first tool arm and said sliding barrel actuates the same, whereby the operation of the said working end portions of said tool arms relative to one another may be controlled by the digits of the hand to which the said flexible material is mounted.
21. The precision instrument system of claim 20 in which said sliding barrel is urged generally away from the mounting location to the hand by a spring.
22. The precision instrument system of claim 21 in which the tension of the spring is adjustable.
23. The precision instrument system of claim 20 in which the second tool arm is attached to the sliding barrel by rigid linkage.
24. The precision instrument system of claim 15 in which said second mounting means is held by an elastic strap or glove which is adapted to be mounted to said human hand.
25. The instrument system of claim 1 in which said first mounting means and said second mounting means are adapted such that the tool portion of said instrument can be disengaged from said second mounting means and replaced by another tool portion by the same hand which carries said second mounting means.
26. The precision instrument system of claim 12 in which said first mounting means and said second mounting means are adapted such that the tool portion of said instrument can be disengaged from said second mounting means and replaced by another tool portion by the same hand which carries said second mounting means.