Optical-Waveguide Based Tactile Sensing for Surgical Instruments of Minimally Invasive Surgery

Yue Li, Jian Hu, Danqian Cao, Stephen Wang, Prokar Dasgupta, Hongbin Liu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


In recent years, with the rapid development of minimally invasive surgery (MIS), the lack of force sensing associated with the surgical instrument used in MIS has been increasingly a desirable technology amongst clinicians. However, it is still an open technical challenge to date since most existing tactile sensing principles are not suitable to small 3-dimensional (3D) curved surfaces often seen in surgical instruments, and as a result multi-point force detection cannot be realized. In this paper, a novel optical waveguide-based sensor was proposed to deal with the above research gap. A sensor prototype for curved surfaces resembling the surface of dissection forceps was developed and experimentally evaluated. The static parameters and dynamic response characteristics of the sensor were measured. Results show that the static hysteresis error is less than 3%, the resolution is 0.026 N, and the repeatability is less than 1.5%. Under a frequency of 12.5 Hz, the sensor could quickly measure the variation of the force signal. We demonstrated that this small and high-precision sensitive sensor design is promising to be used for creating multiple-point tactile sensing for minimally invasive surgical instruments with 3D surfaces.

Original languageEnglish
Article number773166
JournalFrontiers in Robotics and AI
Publication statusPublished - 19 Jan 2022


  • 3D surface
  • minimally invasive surgical
  • multi-point force measurement
  • optical sensor
  • tactile sensor


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