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The manipulation of fast-moving, delicate tissues in beating heart procedures presents a considerable challenge to the surgeon. A robotic force tracking system can assist the surgeon by applying precise contact forces to the beating heart during surgical manipulation. Standard force control approaches cannot safely attain the required bandwidth for this application due to vibratory modes within the robot structure. These vibrations are a limitation even for single degree-of-freedom systems that drive long surgical instruments. These bandwidth limitations can be overcome by the incorporation of feed-forward motion terms in the control law. For intracardiac procedures, the required motion estimates can be derived from 3-D ultrasound imaging. Dynamic analysis shows that a force controller with feed-forward motion terms can provide safe and accurate force tracking for contact with structures within the beating heart. In vivo validation confirms that this approach confers a 50% reduction in force fluctuations when compared with a standard force controller and a 75% reduction in fluctuations when compared with manual attempts to maintain the same force.
Date of Publication: Oct. 2010