An indentation depth-force sensing wheeled probe for abnormality identification during minimally invasive surgery

H. Liu, P. Puangmali, D. Zbyszewski, O. Elhage, P. Dasgupta, J. S. Dai, L. Seneviratne, K. Althoefer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


This paper presents a novel wheeled probe for the purpose of aiding a surgeon in soft tissue abnormality identification during minimally invasive surgery (MIS), compensating the loss of haptic feedback commonly associated with MIS. Initially, a prototype for validating the concept was developed. The wheeled probe consists of an indentation depth sensor employing an optic fibre sensing scheme and a force/torque sensor. The two sensors work in unison, allowing the wheeled probe to measure the tool-tissue interaction force and the rolling indentation depth concurrently. The indentation depth sensor was developed and initially tested on a homogenous silicone phantom representing a good model for a soft tissue organ; the results show that the sensor can accurately measure the indentation depths occurring while performing rolling indentation, and has good repeatability. To validate the ability of the wheeled probe to identify abnormalities located in the tissue, the device was tested on a silicone phantom containing embedded hard nodules. The experimental data demonstrate that recording the tissue reaction force as well as rolling indentation depth signals during rolling indentation, the wheeled probe can rapidly identify the distribution of tissue stiffness and cause the embedded hard nodules to be accurately located.

Original languageBritish English
Pages (from-to)751-763
Number of pages13
JournalProceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part H: Journal of Engineering in Medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2010


  • Minimally invasive surgery (MIS)
  • Optic-fibre-based force sensing
  • Rolling indentation
  • Soft-organ stiffness imaging
  • Tool-tissue interaction


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