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Blog | Shape Sensing

5 Tips For Designing Shape Sensing Into Your New Device

Fully utilizing the technology at our fingertips is what will catapult the medical industry into the next decade. As we experience a time of rapid growth and medical advancement, it is important to understand how new innovations and technologies can help your company grow and improve.

Our 3D shape sensing designs can have profound impacts for companies in the medical field. However, because we are on the cutting edge of our industry, the ways in which our products can be implemented are not necessarily common knowledge. We are on a mission to change that, and make sure that fiber optic shape sensing can be used to its full diagnostic and life-saving potential.

Fiber Optic Shape Sensing For Minimally Invasive Surgery

Our shape sensing technology is invaluable when it comes to surgical navigation. Alternative methods such as scopes and fluoroscopy can be insufficient, difficult to use, and harmful to the patient. Shape sensing gives increased precision and control to navigation of flexible devices, and provides medical professionals with faster, easier means of navigating to and treating difficult to reach areas of the body.

Our fiber optic shape sensors go beyond other surgical navigation products. With our technology, you are able to measure and visualize six degrees-of-freedom information along the entire length of a device. The entire shape and location of a catheter or endoscope can be overlaid with imaging of patient anatomy, making even the most tortuous paths easy to traverse. Being completely immune to electromagnetic interference and self-compensating for temperature, our sensors are more robust and reliable in operating rooms with difficult-to-control environments.

This kind of access is particularly advantageous to professionals who use vascular catheters and pulmonary endoscopes, as it acts as a fluoroscopy alternative. The current tools in these fields put users at a disadvantage, with environmental sensitivities and harmful radiation. With widespread use, our shape sensing technology could help to eliminate fluoroscopy altogether, and advance the potential for diagnosis and cure in these fields.

Orthopedic navigation fields can benefit as well, giving professionals accurate feedback on tool and implant shape, positioning, and orientation.

Tips For Designing Shape Sensing Into Your Technology

The process of designing our technology into your devices requires strategy, just as any design process does. To encourage innovation and collaboration between our companies, we’ve assembled tips on how to create a product that works with fiber optic shape sensors.

1.  Be Sure Your Current Technology Is A Good Candidate

Though 3D shape sensing is a profoundly helpful innovation, planning is required to implement it into current technology. Fortunately, changes can often be made to create a useful new tool. It is best to be sure that your device is ready for shape sensing before you begin design.

Ask yourself the following questions when considering using shape sensing:

  • How long does the device need to be?
  • What space is the sensor going to perform in? Consider the maximum outer diameter and the tightest bend.
  • Can the sensor be free floating or must it be rigidly bonded or embedded?
  • How will the 3D shape results be registered? What external technology will collect and interpret the data?

These basics of implementation give you a good starting point for the rest of these tips and tricks.

2. Consider Placement

Before you begin to see how fiber optic shape sensing can work, it is important to consider what your placement requirements are for the technology. Is there sufficient space available for the sensor? In the case of catheters and endoscopes, the performance of fiber shape sensors can be optimized by integrating it as close to the cross sectional center of the device as possible.

3. Be Precise With The Distal End

To maximize sensor performance, the tightest bending radii should occur near the distal end of the device. This allows the sensors to maintain accuracy along their entire length. It is also helpful to ensure that the overall twist placed on the sensor should be kept to less than one full rotation. This keeps the sensor within its working limits and produces the most accurate measurements.

4. Firmly Attach The Proximal End

The end of the fiber nearest to the doctor or practitioner should be securely attached to the device it is working with. A stable origin for the fiber optic shape sensor is key to allowing the sensors to build an image and feed the information back to the rest of your navigation solution.

5. Allow The Sensors To Float Freely

You will get the most accurate picture if you allow the 3D shape sensors to move freely within the device, rather than affixing them rigidly. This can also help reduce errors and mechanical wear, especially when they cannot be integrated along a device’s neutral axis or cross sectional center. The exception to this is the proximal end, as discussed previously.

Contact The Shape Sensing Company

If our vision of the future of 3D shape sensing interests you, we are ready to collaborate. We are passionate about this technology, and believe that with it truly profound steps can be made in the medical industry. For more information, to ask questions, or to begin working with us, contact us online today.

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