This paper presents an efficient shape-based three-axial force and stiffness estimator for active catheters commonly implemented in cardiac ablation. The force-sensing capability provides important feedback for catheterization procedures including real-time control and catheter steering in autonomous navigation systems. The proposed platform is based on the introduced accurate and computationally efficient Cosserat rod model for tendon-driven catheters. The proposed nonlinear Kalman filter formulation for contact force estimation along with the developed catheter model provides a real-time force observer robust to nonlinearities and noise covariance uncertainties. Furthermore, the proposed platform enables stiffness estimation in addition to tip contact force sensing in different operational circumstances. The approach incorporates pose measurements which can be achieved using currently developed pose-sensing systems or imaging techniques. The method makes the approach compatible with the range of forces applied in clinical applications. The simulation and experimental results verify the viability of the introduced force and stiffness-sensing technique.
Sensors (Basel). 2016 Jun 28;16(7). pii: E990.