Document Type

Theses, Ph.D


Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence



Publication Details

Successfully submitted for the award of Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D) to the Technological University Dublin, 2013.


This thesis considers the development and analysis of unique sensorised surgical scissor blades for application in minimally invasive robotic surgery (MIRS). The lack of haptic (force and tactile) feedback to the user is currently an unresolved issue with modern MIRS systems. This thesis presents details on smart sensing scissor blades which enable the measurement of instrument-tissue interaction forces for the purpose of force reflection and tissue property identification. A review of current literature established that there exists a need for small compact, biocompatible, sterilisable and robust sensors which meet the demands of current MIRS instruments. Therefore, the sensorised blades exploit the strain sensing capabilities of a single fibre Bragg grating (FBG) sensor bonded to their surface. The nature and magnitude of the strain likely to be experienced by the blades, and consequently the FBG sensor, while cutting soft tissue samples were characterised through the use of an application specific test-bed. Using the sensorised blades to estimate fracture properties is proposed, hence two methods of extracting fracture toughness information from the test samples are assessed and compared. Investigations were carried out on the factors affecting the transfer of strain from the blade material to the core of the FBG sensor for surface mounted or partially embedded arrangements. Results show that adhesive bond length, thickness and stiffness need to be carefully specified when bonding FBG sensors to ensure effective strain transfer. Calibration and dynamic cutting experiments were carried out using the characterisation test-bed. The complex nature of the blade interaction forces were modelled, primarily for the purpose of decoupling the direct, lateral, friction and fracture strains experienced by the bonded FBG sensor during cutting. The modelled and experimental results show that the approach taken in sensorising the blade enables detailed cutting force data to be obtained and consequently leads to a unique method in estimating the kinetic friction coefficient for the blades. The forces measured using the FBG are validated against a commercial load cell used in the test-bed. This research work demonstrates that this unique approach of placing a single optical fibre onto the scissor blades can, in an unobtrusive manner, measure interblade friction forces and material fracture properties occurring at the blade-tissue interface.