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1. (WO2017149416) STEERING TOOL WITH CONTROLLED DISTAL FLEXIBILITY
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CLAIMS

What is claimed is:

1. A steering tool comprising:

an internal tube disposed inside an external tube, said internal and external tubes being arranged for longitudinal axial movement relative to one another, wherein a distal end of said internal tube is fixedly joined to a distal end of said external tube;

a tube manipulator operative to cause relative axial movement of said internal and external tubes and bending of a distal portion of at least one of said internal and external tubes;

a locking mechanism operative to switch between a locked position and an unlocked position, wherein in the locked position said internal and external tubes are locked at a particular longitudinal axial position relative to one another, and in the unlocked position there is uninhibited free movement of said internal and external tubes relative to one another.

2. The steering tool according to claim 1, wherein said locking mechanism comprises an adjustment assembly operative to create an intermediate locked position in which there is partially inhibited movement of said internal and external tubes relative to one another.

3. The steering tool according to claim 2, wherein said adjustment assembly comprises a biasing device operative to apply a biasing force on at least one of said internal and external tubes that at least partially inhibits movement of said internal and external tubes relative to one another.

4. The steering tool according to claim 2, comprising a control knob operatively connected to said adjustment assembly for switching between said locked, intermediate locked and unlocked positions.

5. The steering tool according to claim 4, wherein said control knob is lockable at different positions.

6. The steering tool according to claim 4, wherein said control knob is connected to a stopper which is movable towards an abutment element mounted on at least one of said tubes.

7. The steering tool according to claim 2, wherein said adjustment assembly comprises a biasing device operative to apply a biasing force on at least one of said internal and external tubes that at least partially inhibits movement of said internal and external tubes relative to one another, and a control knob is operatively connected to said adjustment assembly for switching between said locked, intermediate locked and unlocked positions, wherein said control knob is connected to a stopper which is movable towards an abutment element mounted on at least one of said tubes, and wherein in the locked position, said biasing device applies a first biasing force against said abutment element sufficient to completely inhibit movement of said internal and external tubes relative to one another, and in the intermediate locked position, said biasing device applies a second biasing force against said abutment element to partially inhibit movement of said internal and external tubes relative to one another.

8. The steering tool according to claim 2, wherein in said locked position, distal portions of said internal and external tubes are in a fixed deformed orientation, and in said intermediate locked, said distal portions of said internal and external tubes are in a changeable deformed orientation.

9. The steering tool according to claim 1, comprising a phase shift manipulator in engagement with said internal tube, wherein rotation of said phase shift manipulator applies torque to said internal tube.

10. The steering tool according to claim 9, wherein said tube manipulator and said phase shift manipulator operate independently of each other.

11. The steering tool according to claim 1, comprising a control knob operatively connected to said external tube by an arm.

12. The steering tool according to claim 11, wherein said arm comprises a lever arm for linear movement amplification between said control knob and said external tube.

13. The steering tool according to claim 1, wherein said locking mechanism comprises teeth formed on said control knob that selectively engage with or disengage from teeth formed on a portion of said handle.