Force Sensing

Fiber optic force sensing: next-generation surgical precision
in critical medical procedures

The importance of controlling the interaction force between minimally invasive surgery tools and the human tissue has been well-recognized by the medical community, e.g. during cardiac catheterization procedures, such as cardiac ablation treatments, or robotic assisted laparoscopic surgeries.

Fiber optic force sensing as turn-key
solution.

Force sensing is a way to measure interaction between multiple bodies. An example in the medical field is to measure the amount of force between a catheter tip and the human tissue.

FBGS’ Draw Tower Grating (DTG®) technology integrated in multi-core fibers lies at the base of this cutting-edge fiber optic force sensing concept. Building upon this technology, FBGS is currently developing a solution for high-resolution force sensing. The patented force sensing technology design is elegant in its simplicity of concept yet powerful. The optical fiber is integrated within a flexure, which relays external forces to the fiber. The flexure is axisymmetric to enable homogeneous non-preferential bending. Moreover, the sensor is built to measure a three-dimensional force where longitudinal and lateral forces are well decoupled. The force sensing solution comprises a fiber optic sensor, an interrogator and the software that manages all the algorithms for data readout and processing in real time.

This approach is designed to be generic to fit many different applications.  One special integration is the integration into catheter tips and other types of non-robotic and robotic surgical tools.

System features

∙ Turn-key fiber optic force sensing system (fiber, measurement system, software)
∙ Easy integration & assembly in existing systems
∙ Decoupling between longitudinal and lateral forces
∙ Solution tailored to customers’ needs & requirements
∙ High repeatability
∙ Revolutionary miniature design of catheter tip force sensor
∙ Passive component: electromagnetic compatibility with low risk for the patient
∙ Miniaturized and biocompatible fiber

Fields of application

Fiber optic force sensing is particularly well-suited for safety-critical applications in minimally invasive surgical procedures and in medical robotics, including for MRI and similar (electro)magnetic applications. FBGS provide a turn-key solution tailored to the individual requirements of your application.

Here are a few examples, where fiber optic force sensing can be integrated:

Minimally invasive biomedical & catheterization procedures
∙ Force sensing in needles
∙ Tip force detection in ablation catheters
. Force sensing in medical grippers
∙ Robotic instruments force detection and haptic feedback

Force sensing for continuum robotic systems

To go further- combining force and shape sensing in one device

Shape information is necessary for navigation and localization purposes, while force information is necessary to know the interaction with the environment both at the tip of the instrument. Put this way the complementarity of both technologies is clear. Therefore, we have started research efforts to make the integration of both possible in one single system and already have performed preliminary tests with promising results. The aimed benefit of this technology is an all-in-one solution that can provide in real time reliable shape and force information to increase procedural safety and efficacy for the cost of only one fiber.

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Germany

FBGS Technologies GmbH
Winzerlaer Straße 2
D-07745 Jena

Belgium

FBGS International NV
Bell Telephonelaan 2H

B-2440 Geel

China

Suzhou X2 Electronic Technology Co Ltd
Room No. 2003, Building 38, No. 60 Weixin Road, Suzhou Industrial Park
215122 Suzhou, Jiangsu China

USA

Montreal

Force sensing | FAQ

Why is fiber optic force sensing particularly suited for minimally invasive medical applications?
Fiber optic force sensing has great potential for several medical and industrial applications to measure the force exerted / applied between multiple bodies. Given the small dimension of the fiber, its immunity to radiation, biocompatibility and flexibility for the integration in catheter tips, fiber optic force sensing is the answer to current unachieved needs in minimally invasive surgery.
How / why can FBGS deliver a complete turn-key force sensing solution?
Relying on over a decade of experience in the fields of fiber optics, gratings and measurement devices, FBGS combines both technology and application know-how to achieve complete sensing solutions. Force sensing was logically the next step to address after completing a performant strain sensing system. Moreover, we invest in research and development to keep improving our sensing system and tailor it to medical applications needs. As such it makes us one of the pioneers in the field of force sensing.
Does it make sense to have both shape and force combined in one sensing device?
Yes. Shape information is necessary for navigation and localization purposes, while force information is necessary to know the interaction with the environment both at the tip and along the body of the instrument. Both measurements can come from one single MCF fiber. The benefit of this technology is that it is an all-in-one solution that can provide reliable shape and force information to increase procedural safety and efficacy for the cost of only one fiber. We are already researching to make the integration of both possible and have performed preliminary tests with promising results. A paper has been published on this topic: O. Al-Ahmad, M. Ourak, J. Vlekken, and E. Vander Poorten, “FBG-Based Estimation of External Forces Along Flexible Instrument Bodies,” Front. Robot. AI, vol. 8, 2021. In the next phase, we will test our algorithms on real medical instruments.