Enhancing haptic feedback of subsurfaces during needle insertion

Sven-Thomas Antoni 1 , Stefan Soltau 1 , Jens Beringhoff 1 , Omer Rajput 1 , Christoph Otte 1  and Alexander Schlaefer 1
  • 1 Institute of Medical Technology, Hamburg University of Technology,, Hamburg, Germany


Haptic feedback can be helpful for accurate needle insertion but is complicated by friction on the needle shaft. Concepts to directly measure the forces at the needle tip exist but cause additional cost and complexity. Moreover, haptic devices may show inaccuracies in recreating forces. We present a novel force feedback method that uses needle shaft forces and enhances haptic feedback of subsurfaces based on robotic ultrasound elastography. This approach allows to overcome accuracy limitations of haptic devices. We evaluate our method in a volunteer subject study using recordings from a robotic needle driver setup. We compare haptic feedback based on shaft and enhanced force for the detection of surfaces inside of gelatin phantoms. Using our method, the error of subsurface detection decreased from more than 16 to about 1.7 mm for the first subsurface. A second subsurface was solely detectable using our method with an error of only 1.4 mm. Insertion time decreased by more than 32%. The results indicate that our enhanced sensor is suitable to detect subsurfaces for untrained subjects using a haptic feedback device of limited accuracy.

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Journal + Issues

Current Directions in Biomedical Engineering is an open access journal and closely related to the journal Biomedical Engineering - Biomedizinische Technik. CDBME is a forum for the exchange of knowledge in the fields of biomedical engineering, medical information technology and biotechnology/bioengineering for medicine and addresses engineers, natural scientists, and clinicians working in research, industry, or clinical practice.