Javad Dargahi


1 FEM Analysis of the Interaction between a Piezoresistive Tactile Sensor and Biological Tissues

Authors: Ahmad Atieh, Masoud Kalantari, Roozbeh Ahmadi, Javad Dargahi, Muthukumaran Packirisamy, Mehrdad Hosseini Zadeh


The present paper presents a finite element model and analysis for the interaction between a piezoresistive tactile sensor and biological tissues. The tactile sensor is proposed for use in minimally invasive surgery to deliver tactile information of biological tissues to surgeons. The proposed sensor measures the relative hardness of soft contact objects as well as the contact force. Silicone rubbers were used as the phantom of biological tissues. Finite element analysis of the silicone rubbers and the mechanical structure of the sensor were performed using COMSOL Multiphysics (v3.4) environment. The simulation results verify the capability of the sensor to be used to differentiate between different kinds of silicone rubber materials.

Keywords: Finite Element Analysis, Minimally Invasive Surgery, tactile sensor, Neo-Hookean hyperelastic materials

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2 Design and Fabrication of Piezoelectric Tactile Sensor by Deposition of PVDF-TrFE with Spin-Coating Method for Minimally Invasive Surgery

Authors: Saman Namvarrechi, Armin A. Dormeny, Javad Dargahi, Mojtaba Kahrizi


Since last two decades, minimally invasive surgery (MIS) has grown significantly due to its advantages compared to the traditional open surgery like less physical pain, faster recovery time and better healing condition around incision regions; however, one of the important challenges in MIS is getting an effective sensing feedback within the patient’s body during operations. Therefore, surgeons need efficient tactile sensing like determining the hardness of contact tissue for investigating the patient’s health condition. In such a case, MIS tactile sensors are preferred to be able to provide force/pressure sensing, force position, lump detection, and softness sensing. Among different pressure sensor technologies, the piezoelectric operating principle is the fittest for MIS’s instruments, such as catheters. Using PVDF with its copolymer, TrFE, as a piezoelectric material, is a common method of design and fabrication of a tactile sensor due to its ease of implantation and biocompatibility. In this research, PVDF-TrFE polymer is deposited via spin-coating method and treated with various post-deposition processes to investigate its piezoelectricity and amount of electroactive β phase. These processes include different post thermal annealing, the effect of spin-coating speed, different layer of deposition, and the presence of additional hydrate salt. According to FTIR spectroscopy and SEM images, the amount of the β phase and porosity of each sample is determined. In addition, the optimum experimental study is established by considering every aspect of the fabrication process. This study clearly shows the effective way of deposition and fabrication of a tactile PVDF-TrFE based sensor and an enhancement methodology to have a higher β phase and piezoelectric constant in order to have a better sense of touch at the end effector of biomedical devices.

Keywords: Minimally Invasive Surgery, Piezoelectricity, PVDF-TrFE, tactile sensor, β phase

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1 Force Sensor for Robotic Graspers in Minimally Invasive Surgery

Authors: Naghmeh M. Bandari, Javad Dargahi, Muthukumaran Packirisamy


Robot-assisted minimally invasive surgery (RMIS) has been widely performed around the world during the last two decades. RMIS demonstrates significant advantages over conventional surgery, e.g., improving the accuracy and dexterity of a surgeon, providing 3D vision, motion scaling, hand-eye coordination, decreasing tremor, and reducing x-ray exposure for surgeons. Despite benefits, surgeons cannot touch the surgical site and perceive tactile information. This happens due to the remote control of robots. The literature survey identified the lack of force feedback as the riskiest limitation in the existing technology. Without the perception of tool-tissue contact force, the surgeon might apply an excessive force causing tissue laceration or insufficient force causing tissue slippage. The primary use of force sensors has been to measure the tool-tissue interaction force in real-time in-situ. Design of a tactile sensor is subjected to a set of design requirements, e.g., biocompatibility, electrical-passivity, MRI-compatibility, miniaturization, ability to measure static and dynamic force. In this study, a planar optical fiber-based sensor was proposed to mount at the surgical grasper. It was developed based on the light intensity modulation principle. The deflectable part of the sensor was a beam modeled as a cantilever Euler-Bernoulli beam on rigid substrates. A semi-cylindrical indenter was attached to the bottom surface the beam at the mid-span. An optical fiber was secured at both ends on the same rigid substrates. The indenter was in contact with the fiber. External force on the sensor caused deflection in the beam and optical fiber simultaneously. The micro-bending of the optical fiber would consequently result in light power loss. The sensor was simulated and studied using finite element methods. A laser light beam with 800nm wavelength and 5mW power was used as the input to the optical fiber. The output power was measured using a photodetector. The voltage from photodetector was calibrated to the external force for a chirp input (0.1-5Hz). The range, resolution, and hysteresis of the sensor were studied under monotonic and harmonic external forces of 0-2.0N with 0 and 5Hz, respectively. The results confirmed the validity of proposed sensing principle. Also, the sensor demonstrated an acceptable linearity (R2 > 0.9). A minimum external force was observed below which no power loss was detectable. It is postulated that this phenomenon is attributed to the critical angle of the optical fiber to observe total internal reflection. The experimental results were of negligible hysteresis (R2 > 0.9) and in fair agreement with the simulations. In conclusion, the suggested planar sensor is assessed to be a cost-effective solution, feasible, and easy to use the sensor for being miniaturized and integrated at the tip of robotic graspers. Geometrical and optical factors affecting the minimum sensible force and the working range of the sensor should be studied and optimized. This design is intrinsically scalable and meets all the design requirements. Therefore, it has a significant potential of industrialization and mass production.

Keywords: Optical Sensor, Robotic Surgery, Minimally Invasive Surgery, force sensor, tactile sensor

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