Shape Sensing Techniques for Continuum Robots in Minimally Invasive Surgery: A Survey
The large interest in utilising fibre Bragg grating (FBG) strain sensors for minimally invasive surgery (MIS) applications to replace conventional electrical tactile sensors has grown in the past few years. FBG strain sensors offer the advantages of optical fibre sensors, such as high sensitivity, immunity to electromagnetic noise, electrical passivity and chemical inertness, but are not limited by phase discontinuity or intensity fluctuations. FBG sensors feature a wavelength-encoding sensing signal that enables distributed sensing that utilises fewer connections. In addition, their flexibility and lightness allow easy insertion into needles and catheters, thus enabling localised measurements inside tissues and blood. Two types of FBG tactile sensors have been emphasised in the literature: single-point and array FBG tactile sensors. This paper describes the current design, development and research of the optical fibre tactile techniques that are based on FBGs to enhance the performance of MIS procedures in general. Providing MIS or microsurgery surgeons with accurate and precise measurements and control of the contact forces during tissues manipulation will benefit both surgeons and patients.