Sensorless force sensing for minimally invasive surgery

Baoliang Zhao, Carl A. Nelson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Robotic minimally invasive surgery (R-MIS) has achieved success in various procedures; however, the lack of haptic feedback is considered by some to be a limiting factor. The typical method to acquire tool-tissue reaction forces is attaching force sensors on surgical tools, but this complicates sterilization and makes the tool bulky. This paper explores the feasibility of using motor current to estimate tool-tissue forces and demonstrates acceptable results in terms of time delay and accuracy. This sensorless force estimation method sheds new light on the possibility of equipping existing robotic surgical systems with haptic interfaces that require no sensors and are compatible with existing sterilization methods.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number041012
JournalJournal of Medical Devices, Transactions of the ASME
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2015


  • Force feedback
  • Robotic minimally invasive surgery
  • Sensorless force estimation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Biomedical Engineering

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