Design, Modeling and Fabrication of a Tactile Sensor and Display System for Application in Laparoscopic Surgery
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Design, Modeling and Fabrication of a Tactile Sensor and Display System for Application in Laparoscopic Surgery

Authors: M. Ramezanifard, J. Dargahi, S. Najarian, N. Narayanan


One of the major disadvantages of the minimally invasive surgery (MIS) is the lack of tactile feedback to the surgeon. In order to identify and avoid any damage to the grasped complex tissue by endoscopic graspers, it is important to measure the local softness of tissue during MIS. One way to display the measured softness to the surgeon is a graphical method. In this paper, a new tactile sensor has been reported. The tactile sensor consists of an array of four softness sensors, which are integrated into the jaws of a modified commercial endoscopic grasper. Each individual softness sensor consists of two piezoelectric polymer Polyvinylidene Fluoride (PVDF) films, which are positioned below a rigid and a compliant cylinder. The compliant cylinder is fabricated using a micro molding technique. The combination of output voltages from PVDF films is used to determine the softness of the grasped object. The theoretical analysis of the sensor is also presented. A method has been developed with the aim of reproducing the tactile softness to the surgeon by using a graphical method. In this approach, the proposed system, including the interfacing and the data acquisition card, receives signals from the array of softness sensors. After the signals are processed, the tactile information is displayed by means of a color coding method. It is shown that the degrees of softness of the grasped objects/tissues can be visually differentiated and displayed on a monitor.

Keywords: Minimally invasive surgery, Robotic surgery, Sensor, Softness, Tactile.

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