Robot-assisted minimally invasive surgery (MIS) has gained popularity due to its high dexterity and reduced invasiveness to the patient; however, due to the loss of direct touch of the surgical site, surgeons may be prone to exert larger forces and cause tissue damage. To quantify tool-tissue interaction forces, researchers have tried to attach different kinds of sensors on the surgical tools. This sensor attachment generally makes the tools bulky and/or unduly expensive and may hinder the normal function of the tools; it is also unlikely that these sensors can survive harsh sterilization processes. This paper investigates an alternative method by estimating tool-tissue interaction forces using driving motors' current, and validates this sensorless force estimation method on a 3-degree-offreedom (DOF) robotic surgical grasper prototype. The results show that the performance of this method is acceptable with regard to latency and accuracy. With this tool-tissue interaction force estimation method, it is possible to implement force feedback on existing robotic surgical systems without any sensors. This may allow a haptic surgical robot which is compatible with existing sterilization methods and surgical procedures, so that the surgeon can obtain tool-tissue interaction forces in real time, thereby increasing surgical efficiency and safety.
- Motor current
- Robot-assisted minimally invasive surgery
- Sensorless force estimation
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Mechanical Engineering