Haptic Teleoperation of Flexible Needles Combining 3D Ultrasound Guidance and Needle Tip Force Feedback

Marco Aggravi*, Daniel A. L. Estima, Alexandre Krupa, Sarthak Misra, Claudio Pacchierotti

*Corresponding author for this work

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We present a haptic teleoperation system capable of steering flexible needles under ultrasound imaging toward a target. With respect to similar works, this approach enables intuitive control of the needle motion while providing the user with 3D navigation and needle tip cutting force using a combination of kinesthetic and vibrotactile haptic feedback. The needle is tracked during the insertion using a 3D ultrasound probe. A friction estimation algorithm extracts salient information about the cutting force at the needle tip froma force sensor placed at the needle base. Agrounded haptic interface enables natural 6-DoF control of the needle motion while providing kinesthetic feedback, and a wearable cutaneous interface on the forearm provides distributed vibrotactile sensations. We carried out a human subject study to validate the insertion system in a gelatine phantom and compare seven different feedback techniques. The best performance was registered when providing navigation cues through kinesthetic feedback and needle tip cutting force through cutaneous vibrotactile feedback. In this modality, results showed an 87% accuracy improvement with respect to providing no haptic feedback at all.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4859-4866
Number of pages8
JournalIEEE Robotics and Automation Letters
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul-2021


  • Haptics and haptic interfaces
  • steerable catheters/needles
  • surgical robotics

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