A High-Precision and Miniature Fiber Bragg Grating-Based Force Sensor for Tissue Palpation During Minimally Invasive Surgery

  • Changhu Lv
  • Shuxin Wang
  • Chaoyang ShiEmail author
Original Article


This paper presents a novel Fiber Bragg Grating (FBG)-based palpation force sensor to explore tissue abnormalities during minimally invasive surgery. The proposed sensor design mainly consists of a miniature force-sensitive flexure, one tightly suspended optical fiber embedded with one FBG element and associated connectors and fixations. The flexure design has been prototyped through the configuration synthesis of Sarrus mechanism by using a rigid-body replacement method to achieve an excellent axial linear force–deformation relationship and a large measurement range. The mounted fiber has been configured at the flexure’s central line with its two ends glued, and its tight suspension configuration can achieve improved resolution and sensitivity and avoid the FBG chirping failure compared to the commonly used direct FBG-pasting methods. Finite element method (FEM)-based simulation has been performed to investigate both static and dynamic performance to aid in structural design. Simulation-enabled structural optimization design has also been implemented to further improve the proposed design and the sensor’s sensitivity has been increased. The optimized sensor design has been prototyped and calibrated to demonstrate an excellent linearity with a small linearity error of 0.97% and achieve a high resolution of 2.55 mN within a relatively large measurement range of 0–5 N. Dynamic force stimulation experiments, in vitro palpation implementation on a silicone phantom embedded with simulated tumors and ex vivo indentation experiments on a porcine liver have validated the effectiveness of the presented sensor design.


Minimally invasive surgery Tissue palpation Tactile sensor Fiber Bragg grating FBG-based force sensor Force feedback 



This work is supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China under Grant 51520105006, Grant 51721003 and Tianjin Natural Science Foundation under Grant 18JCYBJC41400.


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Copyright information

© Biomedical Engineering Society 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Mechanism Theory and Equipment Design of Ministry of Education, School of Mechanical EngineeringTianjin UniversityTianjinChina

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