Three dimensional force estimation for steerable catheters through bi-point tracking

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Contact forces play a significant role in the success of cardiac ablation. However, it is still challenging to estimate the applied contact force during the intervention when a catheter is under large bending or experiences multiple contact points along its body. A multi-element kinetostatic model of a tendon-driven catheter is proposed for real-time intrinsic force sensing. The model is able to accurately predict the steerable section shape of the catheter for given tendon tensions as well as the contact force at any known location on the steerable section. An algorithm is proposed which estimates the contact force on the steerable section using the model-based shape prediction in combination with end-position tracking of the steerable section. In this paper, undefined parameters and contact states of the force and shape estimation are defined and investigated. The shape prediction is validated in 3D space. The contact force estimation is validated with different catheter shpae, contraint catheter and buckling. It can be seen that end-position of the steerable section can be predicted with an accuracy of about 2.3 mm. In the validations, the 3-dimensional contact forces can be estimated accurately with an error of about 0.018 N and 1.6 ms computation time. Furthermore, the contact force estimation algorithm are able to incorporate external physical constraints along the catheter, which is validated in an experimental setup.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)404-415
JournalSensors and Actuators A: Physical
Early online date18 Jun 2018
Publication statusPublished - 15 Aug 2018


  • Intrinsic force sensing
  • catheter contact force
  • continuum kinematics
  • catheter robot and catheter ablation


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