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Haptic feedback in telesurgical applications refers to the relaying of position and force information from a remote surgical site to the surgeon in real-time during a surgical procedure. This feedback, coupled with visual information via microscopic cameras, has the potential to provide the surgeon with additional ‘feel’ for the manipulations being performed at the instrument-biological tissue interface. This increased sensitivity has many associated benefits which include, but are not limited to; minimal tissue damage, reduced recuperation periods, and less patient trauma. The inclusion of haptic feedback leads to reduction in surgeon fatigue which contributes to enhanced performance during operation. Commercially available Minimally Invasive Robotic Surgical (MIRS) systems are being widely used, the best-known examples being from the daVinci® by Intuitive Surgical Inc. However, currently these systems do not possess force feedback capability which therefore restricts their use during many delicate and complex procedures. The ideal system would consist of a multi-degree-of-freedom framework which includes end-effector instruments with embedded force sensing included. A force sensing characterisation platform has been developed by this group which facilitates the evaluation of force sensing technologies. Surgical scissors have been chosen as the instrument and biological tissue phantom specimens have been used during testing. This test-bed provides accurate, repeatable measurements of the forces produced at the interface between the tissue and the scissor blades during cutting using conventional sensing technologies. The primary focus of this paper is to provide a review of the traditional and developing force sensing technologies with a view to establishing the most appropriate solution for this application. The impact that an appropriate sensing technology has on the manufacturability of the instrument end-effector is considered. Particular attention is given to the issues of embedding the force sensing transducer into the instrument tip.
Callaghan, D., McGrath, M., Coyle, E.: Force Measurement Methods in Telerobotic Surgery: Implications for End-Effector Manufacture. Proceedings of the 25th International Manufacturing Conference (IMC25), pp. 389-398, Dublin Institute of Technology, 2008.