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A Neural Network-based Suture-tension Estimation Method Using Spatio-temporal Features of Visual Information and Robot-state Information for Robot-assisted Surgery

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In robot-assisted minimally invasive surgery, there is a risk of skin tissue damage or suture failure at the suture site owing to incomplete tension. To avoid these problems and improve the inaccuracy of tension prediction, this study proposes a suture-tension prediction method using spatio-temporal features that simultaneously utilizes visual information obtained from surgical suture images and robot state changes over time. The proposed method can assist in minimally invasive robotic surgical techniques by predicting suture-tension through a neural network with image and robot information as inputs, without additional equipment. The neural network structure of the proposed method was reconstructed using ShuffleNet V2plus and spatio-temporal long-short-term memory, which are suitable for tension prediction. To validate the constructed neural network, we performed suturing expferiments using biological tissue and created a training database. We trained the proposed model using the built database and found that the estimated suture-tension values were similar to the actual tension values. We also found that the estimated tension values performed better than those of the other neural network models.

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Correspondence to Soo-Chul Lim.

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This work was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) Grant funded by the Korean Government (NRF-2020R1A2C1008883).

Dong-Han Lee received his B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in mechanical engineering from Dongguk University, Seoul, Korea, in 2013, 2016, and 2021, respectively. His current research interests include human-computer interaction, human-robot interface, machine learning, computer vision, surgical robot, and haptics.

Kyung-Soo Kwak received his B.S. and M.S. degrees in mechanical, robotics, and energy engineering from Dongguk University, Seoul, Korea, in 2018 and 2020, respectively. His research interests include human-robot interaction, surgical robot, deep learning, and haptics.

Soo-Chul Lim received his B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in mechanical engineering from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, Daejeon, Korea in 2001, 2003, and 2011, respectively. From 2006 to 2009, he was a full-time Lecturer with the Department of Mechanical Engineering, Korea Military Academy. From 2011 to 2016, he was a Research Staff Member with the Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology. In 2016, he joined the Department of Mechanical, Robotics, and Energy Engineering, Dongguk University, Seoul, Korea, as an Associate Professor. His current research interests include human-robot interaction, deep learning, surgical robot, and haptics.

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Lee, DH., Kwak, KS. & Lim, SC. A Neural Network-based Suture-tension Estimation Method Using Spatio-temporal Features of Visual Information and Robot-state Information for Robot-assisted Surgery. Int. J. Control Autom. Syst. 21, 4032–4040 (2023).

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