Patents by Inventor John W. Hill

John W. Hill has filed for patents to protect the following inventions. This listing includes patent applications that are pending as well as patents that have already been granted by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

  • Patent number: 6309397
    Abstract: Surgical accessories are presented in vivo and used by surgical tools in the surgical site to perform additional tasks without the need to remove the tools from the surgical site for tool change or instrument loading. Examples of in vivo accessories include fastening accessories such as surgical clips for use with a clip applier, single working member accessories such as a blade which can be grasped and manipulated by a grasping tool for cutting, sheath accessories that fit over working members of a tool, flow tubes for providing suction or introducing a fluid into the surgical site, and a retraction member resiliently biased to retract a tissue to expose an area in the surgical site for treatment. The accessories can be introduced into the surgical site by a dedicated accessory introducer, or can be supported on the body of a surgical tool inserted into the surgical site and be manipulated using another surgical tool in the surgical site.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 2, 1999
    Date of Patent: October 30, 2001
    Assignees: SRI International, Intuitive Surgical, Inc.
    Inventors: Christopher A. Julian, Daniel T. Wallace, Frederic H. Moll, Dean F. Hoornaert, David J. Rosa, John G. Freund, John W. Hill
  • Patent number: 6080181
    Abstract: The invention is directed to a system and method for releasably holding a surgical instrument (14), such as an endoscopic instrument configured for delivery through a small percutaneous penetration in a patient. The instrument comprises an elongate shaft (100) with a pair of mounting pins (116) laterally extending from the shaft between its proximal and distal ends. An instrument holder comprises a support having a central bore (202) and an axially extending slot (204) for receiving the instrument shaft and the mounting pins. A pair of locking slots (206) are cut into the support transversely to and in communication with the axial slot so that the mounting pins can be rotated within the locking slots. The instrument support further includes a latch assembly for automatically locking the mounting pins within the locking slots to releasably couple the instrument to the instrument holder.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 26, 1998
    Date of Patent: June 27, 2000
    Assignee: SRI International
    Inventors: Joel F. Jensen, John W. Hill
  • Patent number: 5814038
    Abstract: The invention is directed to manipulator assembly (2) for holding and manipulating a surgical instrument (14) in a telerobotic system. The assembly comprises a base (6) by fixable by means of passive or power driven positioning devices to a surface, such as an operating table, and an instrument holder (4) movably mounted on the base. The instrument holder comprises a chassis (6) and an instrument support (70) movably mounted on the body and having an interface engageable with the surgical instrument to releasably mount the instrument to the instrument holder. A drive assembly (7) is operatively coupled to the instrument holder for providing the instrument with at least two degrees of freedom. The instrument holder is separable from the base and the drive assembly so that the holder can be sterilized. The assembly further includes a force sensing element (52) mounted distal to the holder and the drive assembly for detecting forces exerted on the surgical instrument and providing feedback to the surgeon.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 27, 1997
    Date of Patent: September 29, 1998
    Assignee: SRI International
    Inventors: Joel F. Jensen, John W. Hill
  • Patent number: 5810880
    Abstract: The invention is directed to a system and method for releasably holding a surgical instrument (14), such as an endoscopic instrument configured for delivery through a small percutaneous penetration in a patient. The instrument comprises an elongate shaft (100) with a pair of mounting pins (116) laterally extending from the shaft between its proximal and distal ends. An instrument holder comprises a support having a central bore (202) and an axially extending slot (204) for receiving the instrument shaft and the mounting pins. A pair of locking slots (206) are cut into the support transversely to and in communication with the axial slot so that the mounting pins can be rotated within the locking slots. The instrument support further includes a latch assembly for automatically locking the mounting pins within the locking slots to releasably couple the instrument to the instrument holder.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 1, 1997
    Date of Patent: September 22, 1998
    Assignee: SRI International
    Inventors: Joel F. Jensen, John W. Hill
  • Patent number: 5807378
    Abstract: The invention is directed to manipulator assembly (2) for holding and manipulating a surgical instrument (14) in a telerobotic system. The assembly comprises a base (6) fixable by passive or power driven positioning devices to a surface, such as an operating table, and an instrument holder (4) movably mounted on the base. The instrument holder comprises a chassis (6) and an instrument support (70) movably mounted on the body and having an interface engageable with the surgical instrument to releasably mount the instrument to the instrument holder. A drive assembly (7) is operatively coupled to the instrument holder for providing the instrument with at least two degrees of freedom. The instrument holder is separable from the base and the drive assembly so that the holder can be sterilized. The assembly further includes a force sensing element (52) mounted distal to the holder and the drive assembly for detecting forces exerted on the surgical instrument and providing feedback to the surgeon.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 6, 1997
    Date of Patent: September 15, 1998
    Assignee: SRI International
    Inventors: Joel F. Jensen, John W. Hill
  • Patent number: 5649956
    Abstract: The invention is directed to a system and method for releasably holding a surgical instrument (14), such as an endoscopic instrument configured for delivery through a small percutaneous penetration in a patient. The instrument comprises an elongate shaft (100) with a pair of mounting pins (116) laterally extending from the shaft between its proximal and distal ends. An instrument holder comprises a support having a central bore (202) and an axially extending slot (204) for receiving the instrument shaft and the mounting pins. A pair of locking slots (206) are cut into the support transversely to and in communication with the axial slot so that the mounting pins can be rotated within the locking slots. The instrument support further includes a latch assembly for automatically locking the mounting pins within the locking slots to releasably couple the instrument to the instrument holder.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 7, 1995
    Date of Patent: July 22, 1997
    Assignee: SRI International
    Inventors: Joel F. Jensen, John W. Hill
  • Patent number: 5641235
    Abstract: A motor vehicle ball joint assembly includes a ball stud having a ball stud axis with a shank portion and a ball end centered thereon. A bearing liner has an open end disposed over the ball end with the open directed toward the shank portion. The bearing liner has a bearing surface engaging the ball end. A plurality of slits extend from the open end of the liner, defining a plurality of flex members. The flex members operably deflect to receive the ball end. When the ball end is completely inserted in the liner, the flex members return to a locked position, axially retaining the ball end in the liner. A stem engaging element has a stem axis and extends radially from the bearing liner. The stem engaging element has metal engaging threads. A rigid plastic case envelopes the bearing liner. The rigid plastic case and bearing liner and the rigid plastic case cooperatively positively lock the ball end within the bearing liner.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 7, 1995
    Date of Patent: June 24, 1997
    Assignee: Dana Corporation
    Inventors: Garth Maughan, John W. Hill
  • Patent number: 4806066
    Abstract: A robotic arm and control system comprising a multi-axis, open-loop system of coupled structural members, wherein each structural member is pivotably coupled to one another to form a number of joints, wherein position calibration is provided by way of position sensors disposed at each joint, and controls for manipulating each joint in a predetermined manner and for monitoring the output of each position sensor, the controls first causing all structural members to move with respect to one another so that each position sensor outputs a home signal, the controls then manipulating each structural member in a predetermined sequence until each structural member is caused to be within a predetermined distance from its home position.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 23, 1985
    Date of Patent: February 21, 1989
    Assignee: Microbot, Inc.
    Inventors: Guy W. Rhodes, John W. Hill, Clement M. Smith, Thomas M. Grimm
  • Patent number: 4631657
    Abstract: A method and apparatus for controlling a stepper motor and for force sensing and force control. Stepper motor drive waveforms are provided which are constructed of a sequence of stairsteps, the size and duration thereof being determined as a function of the desired rotational velocity of the stepper motor. Means and a method for accelerating the stepper motor by varying the step size and step duration of the stairsteps in the drive waveform are discussed. Additionally, means and a method are discussed for sensing and controlling the force applied by the stepper motor to a load by way of evaluating the displacement of the actual position of the stepper motor shaft from the commanded or desired position of the shaft. Means and a method for implementing a compliant function in a similar manner are described.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 1, 1985
    Date of Patent: December 23, 1986
    Assignee: Microbot, Inc.
    Inventors: John W. Hill, Anthony J. Sword
  • Patent number: 4535716
    Abstract: A magnetic mine sweep has at least one block of permanent magnet material connected on each side in flux conducting relationship to respective distributor elements, typically of mild steel, which are secured to respective steel pipes which are closed to form cavities for providing buoyancy and for distributing the flux for mine sweeping purposes. Rigid plastic foam can be provided in the cavities for reserve buoyancy and stiffening purposes. A non-magnetic shroud extends around the block of permanent magnet material.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 21, 1982
    Date of Patent: August 20, 1985
    Assignee: The Commonwealth of Australia
    Inventor: John W. Hill
  • Patent number: 4535405
    Abstract: A method and apparatus for controlling a stepper motor and for force sensing and force control. Stepper motor drive waveforms are provided which are constructed of a sequence of stairsteps, the size and duration thereof being determined as a function of the desired rotational velocity of the stepper motor. Means and a method for accelerating the stepper motor by varying the step size and step duration of the stairsteps in the drive waveform are discussed. Additionally, means and a method are discussed for sensing and controlling the force applied by the stepper motor to a load by way of evaluating the displacement of the actual position of the stepper motor shaft from the commanded or desired position of the shaft. Means and a method for implementing a compliant function in a similar manner are described.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 29, 1982
    Date of Patent: August 13, 1985
    Assignee: Microbot, Inc.
    Inventors: John W. Hill, Anthony J. Sword
  • Patent number: 4281564
    Abstract: A power train infinitely variable from substantially 1:1 ratio to a very high ratio, employing a pair of planetary gear assemblies, each including a sun gear, a ring gear and a planetary carrier having at least one planetary gear operatively connecting the associated ring and sun gears, the planetary gear assemblies having different gear ratios, both planetary assemblies having their sun gears rotatable by a driving member, a driven member operatively connected to the planetary carrier of the assembly of higher ratio, the ring gears being constructed for rotation as a unit, and the planetary carrier of the assembly of lower ratio being variably connectible with the driving member, whereby the overall ratio between driving and driven members is variable in dependence upon the relative speed of the driving member and the planetary carrier of the lower ratio assembly.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 8, 1979
    Date of Patent: August 4, 1981
    Assignee: Gwendolyn K. Hill
    Inventor: John W. Hill, deceased
  • Patent number: 4077268
    Abstract: A long horizontal tubular housing for a garage door operating screw is provided in its bottom with a slot extending lengthwise of the housing. Inside the housing there is a metal tube that is several feet long and that can be rotated by reversible means at one end of the housing. Wound helically around the tube and welded to it is a wire that forms a screw thread that is spaced from the surrounding tube and is encircled by a traveling nut for movement lengthwise of the housing when the tube is rotated. The nut is connected to means extending down through the slot for connection to a garage door to open or close the door. Since the space between the screw thread and the surrounding housing is empty except for the nut, the wire-wound portion of the tube is unsupported between the nut and the bearings for the tube. However, due to the light weight of the screw, it can be driven at least as fast as conventional door-opening screws without bending.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 14, 1976
    Date of Patent: March 7, 1978
    Inventor: John W. Hill
  • Patent number: 3952880
    Abstract: A manipulator is shown of the type which includes an effector, such as a hand, comprising a pair of jaws relatively pivotally movable between open and closed positions under operation of power means such as an electric motor. Sensing means, for sensing both magnitude and direction of forces along three mutually orthogonal axes intersecting at the wrist and for sensing magnitude and direction of torques about said axes, are provided at the wrist intermediate to the manipulator hand and hand supporting means. The sensing means includes a plurality of sensing units radially spaced from the longitudinal axis of the manipulator at equal distances therefrom. In an exemplary arrangement, four such orthogonally located sensing units are employed, each of which includes a radially extending opaque pin carried by the manipulator arm or hand. Each pin extends into a clearance hole formed in an energy source and detector housing carried by the other of the arm and hand.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 28, 1975
    Date of Patent: April 27, 1976
    Assignee: Stanford Research Institute
    Inventors: John W. Hill, Antony J. Sword