Force Sensing Drill/Cutter Tool for Skull Base Surgery

Last updated: 11 May. 2018 07:02


Development of a neurosurgical drill capable of sensing the forces at the tooltip

  • Students: Prasad Vagdargi, Brandon Tran, Nick Skacel
  • Mentor(s): Russell Taylor, Paul Wilkening, Yunus Sevimli, David Levi, Francis Creigton, Chris Razavi

Background, Specific Aims, and Significance

Current methodology: Cooperative control of Galen robot is currently used for neurosurgery. For some applications it is useful to measure and control the tool-to-tissue forces as well.

Goal: To sense these forces and integrate this data for better control of the Galen robot

Uses: Visual Feedback Safety Limits Surgical Skill evaluation Unbiased comparison of surgical techniques


  • Minimum:
    1. Design and prototype force sensing tool holder (Completed)
    2. Provide force sensing at the tooltip (Completed)
  • Expected: (April 20) (Completed)
    1. Design iteration for ergonomics (Completed)
    2. Provide calibrated XYZ force sensing at the tooltip (Completed)
    3. Design and Print PCBs for Hall Effect sensor (Incomplete)
  • Maximum: (May 5)
    1. Test Hall Effect sensors, design HE sensor drill (Incomplete)
    2. Test using Galen robot on phantom skulls and measure tooltip forces (Completed)

Technical Approach

- Test the arrangement of sensors required and number of sensors required: This phase of the project has been completed within the design. We have finalized using 4 force sensors mounted perpendicular to each other at an offset of 45 degrees. This would make the arrangement symmetric and allow simpler calculations.

Finalized Design:

- Start by prototyping the tool sleeve, and complete the initial analysis of the force relations: Completed this phase of the project. We have a 3D printed sleeve sensor arrangement which is being tested with the Galen Robot embedded force sensor.

3D printed Prototype:

Documentation for the finalized design has been completed in CAD drawings:

- Calibration of tool forces with standard force sensors: This phase of the project is in progress. The procedure we have is to measure forces at several depths in material. These depths will be controlled by the Galen system’s positional control feature. We will have two resulting .txt files, one with 12 force readings from the drill and 3 from the Galen system’s force sensor. Once we transform the Galen force sensor reading into a drill tip force, we solve a simple least-squares calibration problem.

See attached workflow document for more information.

- Design a sensing PCB for Hall Effect sensors and test force measurements: Pending


Order for new force sensors, DAQ board: Completed

Backup: Work with ATI force sensors in a different design

Access to Galen UI for DAQ to Robot communication: Completed through Paul Wilkening

Access to 3D printing facilities: Completed

Milestones and Status

  1. Milestone name: Initial Prototype Manufacture
    • Planned Date: March 30
    • Expected Date: April 10
    • Status: Completed
  2. Milestone name: Calibration and Analysis
    • Planned Date: April 10
    • Expected Date: April 20
    • Status: In Progress
  3. Milestone name: Testing and Redesign
    • Planned Date: April 28
    • Expected Date: May 5
    • Status: Pending

Reports and presentations

Project Bibliography

* Y. Hu, H. Jin, L. Zhang, P. Zhang and J. Zhang, “State Recognition of Pedicle Drilling With Force Sensing in a Robotic Spinal Surgical System,” in IEEE/ASME Transactions on Mechatronics, vol. 19, no. 1, pp. 357-365, Feb. 2014.

* P. Kazanzides, J. Zuhars, B. Mittelstadt and R. H. Taylor, “Force sensing and control for a surgical robot,” Proceedings 1992 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, Nice, 1992, pp. 612-617 vol.1.

* Force of Cochlear Implant Electrode Insertion Performed by a Robotic Insertion Tool: Comparison of Traditional Versus Advance Off-Stylet Techniques, Daniel Schurzig, Robert J. Webster III, Mary S. Dietrich, and Robert F. Labadie, Otology & Neurotology, 2010

* K. Ikeda, K. Shoin, H. Taguchi, J. Yamano, and J. Yamashita, “Cranionavigator combining a high-speed drill and a navigation system for skull base surgery–technical note,” Neurologia Medico-Chirurgica, vol. 39, no. 9, pp. 701–708, 1999.

Other Resources and Project Files

Here give list of other project files (e.g., source code) associated with the project. If these are online give a link to an appropriate external repository or to uploaded media files under this name space.2018-15

courses/456/2018/456-2018-15/project-15.txt · Last modified: 2018/05/11 07:18 by