National Institutes of Health (NIH) under Grant R01 EB016703 and in part by the JHU/APL Internal Research Funding (IRAD) and NIH under Grant R01 CA111288. The work of H. Liu was supported in part by the National Natural Science Foundation of China under Grant 61473281 and in part by the China Scholarship Council under Grant 201304910075.
Dexterous continuum manipulators (DCMs) can largely increase the reachable region and steerability for minimally and less invasive surgery. Many such procedures require the DCM to be capable of producing large deflections. The real-time control of the DCM shape requires sensors that accurately detect and report large deflections. We propose a novel, large deflection, shape sensor to track the shape of a 35 mm DCM designed for a less invasive treatment of osteolysis. Two shape sensors, each with three fiber Bragg grating sensing nodes is embedded within the DCM, and the sensors' distal ends fixed to the DCM. The DCM centerline is computed using the centerlines of each sensor curve. An experimental platform was built and different groups of experiments were carried out, including free bending and three cases of bending with obstacles. For each experiment, the DCM drive cable was pulled with a precise linear slide stage, the DCM centerline was calculated, and a 2D camera image was captured for verification. The reconstructed shape created with the shape sensors is compared with the ground truth generated by executing a 2D-3D registration between the camera image and 3D DCM model. Results show that the distal tip tracking accuracy is 0.40 ± 0.30 mm for the free bending and 0.61 ± 0.15 mm, 0.93 ± 0.05 mm and 0.23 ± 0.10 mm for three cases of bending with obstacles. The data suggest FBG arrays can accurately characterize the shape of large-deflection DCMs.