Experimental Comparison of Force Feedback vs Tactile Sensory Substitution for Suture Tension Perception

Adam Spiers, S Baillie, Calum Roke, Tony Pipe

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference Contribution (Conference Proceeding)

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Suturing is an essential part of surgical procedures, yet tension regulation is difficult when using tele-operator systems [1]. Incorrect tension application can lead to various complications. It has been suggested that the use of haptic feedback to allow tension perception would reduce such errors [1]. Many groups have highlighted the benefit of haptic feedback in robot assisted minimally invasive surgery (RMIS) and bi-lateral, kinesthetic ‘force feedback’ solutions have been proposed. However, instability issues have prevented such solutions from reaching clinical implementation [2]. An alternative to bi-lateral force feedback is the use of sensory substitution to represent haptic information to the surgeon without influencing system stability [1][2]. Examples of sensory substitution include visual and vibrotactile feedback, though it has been suggested that such techniques, which do not represent forces by natural methods and/or channels, may lead to higher cognitive loading [2]. In our work, the use of fingertip surface deformation (also known as tactile skin stretch) is considered as a method of representing tangential (shear) and normal (indenting) interaction forces through a natural haptic feedback method. Skin stretch feedback avoids the controller instability issues of bilateral force feedback and may be achieved via relatively simple, compact and low cost technology [2].
In this work we investigate the capability of tactile skin stretch feedback (SSF) to aid novice participants in perceiving the tension of simulated sutures during a ‘grasp and pull’ task. The experiment is also conducted with force feedback (FF) and combinations of FF and SSF to permit comparative evaluation between feedback modalities and changes in perceptual capability.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHamlyn Symposium
Number of pages2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2015


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