Why develop a robot that can operate in an MRI?

A technological challenge, made possible by non-magnetic piezoelectric motors

For a long time, neurosurgeons were faced with a recurring problem in their surgical procedures: They could not both obtain high-resolution magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) images and operate accurately on the patient.

Indeed, since an MRI generates very powerful electromagnetic fields (3T), the smallest ferromagnetic component is subjected to significant mechanical forces and thus becomes very dangerous to the patient. In addition, to avoid artifacts (image alteration), components that interfere with imaging must be non-magnetic. To operate in such conditions, a new family of robots is emerging: MRI surgical robots.

The challenges encountered are numerous:

  • Maintaining the accuracy of MRI imaging
  • Building a highly reliable and accurate robot (or instrument)
  • Designing a device composed exclusively of non-magnetic components

Nevertheless, piezoelectric technology can meet all these challenges, and today such robots are being developed and will revolutionize the neurosurgery procedures of the future.

Our non-magnetic motors for MRI environment

Recognized expertise in MRI robotics

Tekceleo has recognized expertise in piezoelectric motors and has developed an original control system for piezoelectric motors by integrating an encoder into the motor structure. TEKCELEO’s patented WAVELLING™ technology uses high-performance traveling wave piezoelectric actuation.

Our technology allows us to provide a high power density while ensuring good efficiency for small motor systems. Tekceleo produces highly reliable piezoelectric motors that can incorporate a torque sensor, an optical encoder and an electronic control system that is both very precise and intuitive to use. We also produce non-magnetic piezoelectric motors with very small diameters (from 20mm to 30mm) allowing for integration in systems with several small motors.

Our product catalog includes a range of non-magnetic piezoelectric motors, mainly dedicated to ultra-precise surgical robotics under imaging.

Our motors are designed to be used in the most complex of environments:

  • lightweight, compact, flat or cylindrical in shape
  • High torque-low speed without reducer (direct drive)
  • No-power holding torque
  • No electromagnetic disturbances
  • Silence, no vibrations
  • Flexible and modular design: it can be fitted into the heart of the mechanism
  • Accuracy of 0.01° (can be reduced per customer specification)
  • Fast response time (< 1ms)
  • Range of non-magnetic motors


Our expertise

Designing a medical device is a difficult process, both in terms of technical complexity and regulatory requirements.  This is why the choice of its components is crucial, especially for critical parts such as actuators. The motors must be reliable, quiet and precise, and non-magnetic in the context of MRI robotics.

Our know-how about motors and piezoelectric devices can therefore be used at all stages of the development and scaling-up of your robotics project:

  • Validation of our technology in the context of your use cases
  • Support and advice for integrating our technology into your prototypes
  • Supply of motors and their controllers at all stages of your project

Our team of engineers, who are experts in piezoelectricity and mechatronics, supports our customers in bring their products to mass production based on the use of our technological bricks.

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