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The Hand-Held Force Magnifier: Surgical Tools to Augment the Sense of Touch

Lee, Randy (2017) The Hand-Held Force Magnifier: Surgical Tools to Augment the Sense of Touch. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Modern surgeons routinely perform procedures with noisy, sub-threshold, or obscured visual and haptic feedback,either due to the necessary approach, or because the systems on which they are operating are exceeding delicate. For example, in cataract extraction, ophthalmic surgeons must peel away thin membranes in order to access and replace the lens of the eye. Elsewhere, dissection is now commonly performed with energy-delivering tools – rather than sharp blades – and damage to deep structures is possible if tissue contact is not well controlled. Surgeons compensate for their lack of tactile sensibility by relying solely on visual feedback, observing tissue deformation and other visual cues through surgical microscopes or cameras. Using visual information alone can make a procedure more difficult, because cognitive mediation is required to convert visual feedback into motor action. We call this the “haptic problem” in surgery because the human sensorimotor loop is deprived of critical tactile afferent information, increasing the chance for intraoperative injury and requiring extensive training before clinicians reach independent proficiency.

Tools that enhance the surgeon’s direct perception of tool-tissue forces can therefore potentially reduce the risk of iatrogenic complications and improve patient outcomes. Towards this end, we have developed and characterized a new robotic surgical tool, the Hand-Held Force Magnifier (HHFM), which amplifies forces at the tool tip so they may be readily perceived by the user, a paradigm we call “in-situ” force feedback.

In this dissertation, we describe the development of successive generations of HHFM prototypes, and the evaluation of a proposed human-in-the-loop control framework using the methods of psychophysics. Using these techniques, we have verified that our tool can reduce sensory perception thresholds, augmenting the user’s abilities beyond what is normally possible. Further, we have created models of human motor control in surgically relevant tasks such as membrane puncture, which have shown to be sensitive to push-pull direction and handedness effects. Force augmentation has also demonstrated improvements to force control in isometric force generation tasks. Finally, in support of future psychophysics work, we have developed an inexpensive, high-bandwidth, single axis haptic renderer using a commercial audio speaker.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Lee, Randyral63@pitt.edural630000-0003-1415-7909
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairStetten, Georgestetten@pitt.edustetten
Committee MemberKlatzky,
Committee MemberMao, Zhi-Hongzhm4@pitt.eduzhm4
Committee MemberRobertson, Anneanne.robertson@pitt.edurbertson
Date: 14 June 2017
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 21 March 2017
Approval Date: 14 June 2017
Submission Date: 5 April 2017
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 331
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Swanson School of Engineering > Bioengineering
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Medical devices, surgical robotics, surgical instruments, hand-held tools, haptics, psychophysics, augmented reality, computer assisted surgery
Date Deposited: 14 Jun 2017 16:57
Last Modified: 14 Jun 2017 16:57

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