Haptics has proven to be highly beneficial in surgical robotics, bringing enhanced safety and precision by complementing the surgeon’s visual channel. However, most of the research body in this context is dedicated to applications involving traditional “cold steel” surgical instruments. This research investigates new ways to bring the benefits of haptics to contactless surgeries.
Considering the case of robot-assisted laser microsurgery, we have developed a novel method to create a fictitious force feedback that allows the user to sense the surgical area haptically while controlling a non-contact surgical laser.
Our method is based stereoscopic visualization and 3D reconstruction. The high-quality haptic feedback produced is shown to significantly improve system usability and the accuracy of laser incisions.
The results of this research are applicable to different kinds of contactless focused energy surgery, such as radiation therapy and high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) in addition to lasers. This is exciting because it allows the exploitation of active constraints and guidance techniques in many kinds of contactless surgeries, which can contribute to enhance surgical accuracy both in static and dynamic environments.