Hand-Held Device and Computer-Implemented Steering of a Percutaneously Inserted Needle


Dr. Mahdi Tavakoli and his team at the University of Alberta have developed a novel hand-held device and methods to enable real-time assisted steering of percutaneously inserted needles, such as those used to deliver brachytherapy seeds to the prostate. The device is compact enough to fit within one hand and enables a surgeon to precisely and efficiently compensate during surgery to achieve a desired needle trajectory within the patient. The device incorporates needle actuators, various sensors for real-time feedback, and is used in combination with a series of steering algorithms.  A prototype device is available and tests are ongoing in phantom and ex-vivo biological tissue


  • Lightweight and compact prototype available
  • Has real-time prediction for estimating future needle insertion and an online motion planner that steers the needle towards the target
  • Average deviation in needle trajectory in tests average 0.33mm, compared to 5mm using conventional manual brachytherapy and >1mm using other handheld models


Semi-Automated Needle Steering in Biological Tissue Using an Ultrasound-Based Deflection Predictor; Ann Biomed Eng. 2017 Apr;45(4):924-938

The device can be viewed here: Youtube

Potential Markets

Medical devices for brachytherapy and/or biopsy

Protection Status

Patent pending

Product Number


Contact Information

Quang Tran
Technology Management Group
TEC Edmonton – University of Alberta
Phone: 780-492-6254
​Email: quang.tran@tecedmonton.com