GB2298931A - Virtual force feedback for a real environment - Google Patents

Virtual force feedback for a real environment Download PDF

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Publication number
GB2298931A
GB2298931A GB9505448A GB9505448A GB2298931A GB 2298931 A GB2298931 A GB 2298931A GB 9505448 A GB9505448 A GB 9505448A GB 9505448 A GB9505448 A GB 9505448A GB 2298931 A GB2298931 A GB 2298931A
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United Kingdom
Prior art keywords
environment
virtual
apparatus
member
means
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Granted
Application number
GB9505448A
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GB9505448D0 (en
GB2298931B (en
Inventor
Terence Paul Young
Current Assignee (The listed assignees may be inaccurate. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy of the list.)
BAE Systems Electronics Ltd
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BAE Systems Electronics Ltd
Priority date (The priority date is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the date listed.)
Filing date
Publication date
Application filed by BAE Systems Electronics Ltd filed Critical BAE Systems Electronics Ltd
Priority to GB9505448A priority Critical patent/GB2298931B/en
Publication of GB9505448D0 publication Critical patent/GB9505448D0/en
Publication of GB2298931A publication Critical patent/GB2298931A/en
Application granted granted Critical
Publication of GB2298931B publication Critical patent/GB2298931B/en
Anticipated expiration legal-status Critical
Application status is Expired - Fee Related legal-status Critical

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Classifications

    • GPHYSICS
    • G05CONTROLLING; REGULATING
    • G05GCONTROL DEVICES OR SYSTEMS INSOFAR AS CHARACTERISED BY MECHANICAL FEATURES ONLY
    • G05G5/00Means for preventing, limiting or returning the movements of parts of a control mechanism, e.g. locking controlling member
    • G05G5/04Stops for limiting movement of members, e.g. adjustable stop
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B25HAND TOOLS; PORTABLE POWER-DRIVEN TOOLS; MANIPULATORS
    • B25JMANIPULATORS; CHAMBERS PROVIDED WITH MANIPULATION DEVICES
    • B25J9/00Programme-controlled manipulators
    • B25J9/16Programme controls
    • B25J9/1679Programme controls characterised by the tasks executed
    • B25J9/1689Teleoperation
    • GPHYSICS
    • G09EDUCATION; CRYPTOGRAPHY; DISPLAY; ADVERTISING; SEALS
    • G09BEDUCATIONAL OR DEMONSTRATION APPLIANCES; APPLIANCES FOR TEACHING, OR COMMUNICATING WITH, THE BLIND, DEAF OR MUTE; MODELS; PLANETARIA; GLOBES; MAPS; DIAGRAMS
    • G09B23/00Models for scientific, medical, or mathematical purposes, e.g. full-sized devices for demonstration purposes
    • G09B23/28Models for scientific, medical, or mathematical purposes, e.g. full-sized devices for demonstration purposes for medicine
    • GPHYSICS
    • G05CONTROLLING; REGULATING
    • G05BCONTROL OR REGULATING SYSTEMS IN GENERAL; FUNCTIONAL ELEMENTS OF SUCH SYSTEMS; MONITORING OR TESTING ARRANGEMENTS FOR SUCH SYSTEMS OR ELEMENTS
    • G05B2219/00Program-control systems
    • G05B2219/30Nc systems
    • G05B2219/40Robotics, robotics mapping to robotics vision
    • G05B2219/40137Force sensation feedback from simulated tool
    • GPHYSICS
    • G05CONTROLLING; REGULATING
    • G05BCONTROL OR REGULATING SYSTEMS IN GENERAL; FUNCTIONAL ELEMENTS OF SUCH SYSTEMS; MONITORING OR TESTING ARRANGEMENTS FOR SUCH SYSTEMS OR ELEMENTS
    • G05B2219/00Program-control systems
    • G05B2219/30Nc systems
    • G05B2219/40Robotics, robotics mapping to robotics vision
    • G05B2219/40146Telepresence, teletaction, sensor feedback from slave to operator
    • GPHYSICS
    • G05CONTROLLING; REGULATING
    • G05BCONTROL OR REGULATING SYSTEMS IN GENERAL; FUNCTIONAL ELEMENTS OF SUCH SYSTEMS; MONITORING OR TESTING ARRANGEMENTS FOR SUCH SYSTEMS OR ELEMENTS
    • G05B2219/00Program-control systems
    • G05B2219/30Nc systems
    • G05B2219/45Nc applications
    • G05B2219/45123Electrogoniometer, neuronavigator, medical robot used by surgeon to operate
    • GPHYSICS
    • G05CONTROLLING; REGULATING
    • G05GCONTROL DEVICES OR SYSTEMS INSOFAR AS CHARACTERISED BY MECHANICAL FEATURES ONLY
    • G05G9/00Manually-actuated control mechanisms provided with one single controlling member co-operating with two or more controlled members, e.g. selectively, simultaneously
    • G05G9/02Manually-actuated control mechanisms provided with one single controlling member co-operating with two or more controlled members, e.g. selectively, simultaneously the controlling member being movable in different independent ways, movement in each individual way actuating one controlled member only
    • G05G9/04Manually-actuated control mechanisms provided with one single controlling member co-operating with two or more controlled members, e.g. selectively, simultaneously the controlling member being movable in different independent ways, movement in each individual way actuating one controlled member only in which movement in two or more ways can occur simultaneously
    • G05G9/047Manually-actuated control mechanisms provided with one single controlling member co-operating with two or more controlled members, e.g. selectively, simultaneously the controlling member being movable in different independent ways, movement in each individual way actuating one controlled member only in which movement in two or more ways can occur simultaneously the controlling member being movable by hand about orthogonal axes, e.g. joysticks
    • G05G2009/04766Manually-actuated control mechanisms provided with one single controlling member co-operating with two or more controlled members, e.g. selectively, simultaneously the controlling member being movable in different independent ways, movement in each individual way actuating one controlled member only in which movement in two or more ways can occur simultaneously the controlling member being movable by hand about orthogonal axes, e.g. joysticks providing feel, e.g. indexing means, means to create counterforce

Abstract

In a system to permit the remote control of a member 6 in a real environment, a virtual reality environment corresponding to the real environment is used to define areas b,c that the member should not enter. The virtual environment is mapped onto the real environment and the person remotely controlling the member experiences force feedback from obstacles encountered in both the real environment and in the virtual reality environment eg through a joystick. The aim is to prevent the occurence of potentially hazardous situations eg the member damaging a delicate membrane B,C during invasive surgery or dangerous chemicals coming into contact in an industrial process.

Description

VIRTUAL FORCE FEEDBACK FOR SYNTHETI[C ENVIRONMENT This invention relates to operating instruments in a real environment with the assistance of a virtual reality environment.

Remotely operated instruments have been used to perform delicate operations in areas which are not readily accessible to human operators. For example, in minimally invasive surgery such as key hole surgery, instruments are inserted into the body via a relatively small opening. The surgeon manipulates the instruments from outside of the body.

Another example is the handling of hazardous substances or the assembly or disassembly of potentially hazardous equipment or equipment which has to be handled in a special environment such as vacuum or ultra-clean environment.

It is known to use the electro-mechanical or optomechanical interfaces in such applications. The lack of "feel" which would otherwise result can be compensated for by provided by mechanical feedback by means of sensors coupled to the instruments. Thus an operator "feel" resistance when he touches an object in proportion to the force which he is exerting on the object and thus is able to exert only sufficient force to handle the object without damaging it. Similarly a surgeon can "feel" the resistance presented by body tissues during surgery.

However, the body contains a number of ultra-thin membranes and other delicate tissues which are incapable of exerting enough force on a sensor to provide significant mechanical feedback. Such membranes may therefore be damaged by for example an unintentional slip by the operator. Similarly, in delicate manipulation of mechanical objects an unintentional movement by the operator could result in damage to a fragile item. In the case of hazardous substances, damage could result from the unintentional bringing-together of objects which should be kept apart.

For example, chemicals which react together violently could be unintentionally mixed, or an unintentional electrical short-circuit could be caused when performing manipulations in the vicinity of a "live" circuit.

It has been proposed to use synthetic environments, also known as virtual reality environments, to simulate real environments for training purposes. It has been proposed to create a synthetic environment simulating part of the human body to allow a surgeon to practice operations in the synthetic environment before carrying out a corresponding operation on an actual patient. Proposals have been made to create a virtual reality atlas of the human body. Such an atlas would assist a surgeon in guiding his instruments through the body of the patient in the course of an operation by providing a three-dimensional view of the patient. These proposals do not address the problem of preventing inadvertent damage to delicate or sensitive objects.

In accordance with the invention, apparatus for remotely operating a member in a real environment comprises: means to generate a virtual reality environment matching the real environment; means to cause the member to respond to the virtual reality environment; and means to define a region of the virtual reality environment to have properties different from those of the corresponding region of the real environment.

Thus although the operator is moving in the real environment he experiences the sensations which he receives from the synthetic environment. These may be in addition to or instead of the sensations he receives from the real environment.

The properties of the defined virtual reality region may be different from those of the real environment. For example the virtual environment may be made more viscous, thereby providing damping where no damping exists in the real environment. The defined region may be a virtual solid region which inhibits or prevents passage by the member into or through the corresponding real region. The virtual region could be made resilient such that it could be entered by applying sufficient force, but be such as to eject the probe therefrom when the force was removed.

The different properties may be disabled. This allows intentional entry into the defined region but only by a positive action on the part of the operator. This prevents accidental entry into the defined region and is of particular use where the corresponding region of the real environment contains an object which is liable to be damaged by the probe.

The probe may comprise proximity sensor responsive to real objects, the virtual reality environment comprising a virtual proximity sensor responsive to virtual objects.

The subjects of the real and virtual sensors may be combined such that the operator senses the same sensations on approaching either a real object of a virtual object.

The virtual reality environment may comprise means to produce a warning signal when the probe approaches the defined virtual region.

Alarm means may be provided to indicate when the probe approaches the defined virtual region. This gives the operator a positive indication that the virtual region is being approached and allows him to react accordingly.

For example in surgery the defined region may protect a delicate membrane associated with the eye which could be damaged by coming into contact with a probe. The warning would give the operator notice that he was approaching a critical region where extreme care has to be taken.

The means may be provided to "remember" the path taken by the probe on at least part of its way to the location where work is to be performed. Regions bounded by this region may then be defined as solid regions into which the probe is not allowed to go. This facilitates withdrawal of the probe after work has been completed, as it is then constrained to move only on its original route. <img class="EMIRef" id="026946943-00050001" />

<img class="EMIRef" id="026946943-00050002" />

Automatic withdrawal may be effected by defining a virtual solid region beyond the probe and then expanding it, thereby "pushing" the probe back along its original path.

An embodiment of the invention will now be described by way of non-limiting example only with reference to the drawings in which: Figure 1 shows an embodiment of an apparatus in accordance with the invention; and Figure 2 illustrates an aspect of the operation of the invention.

Figure 1 illustrates in schemmatic form apparatus for performing minimally invasive surgery on the human body.

A Virtual Reality (VR) generator 2 is coupled via line 20 to a control and interface unit 1 whose function will be described later. A virtual reality display unit' 3 is coupled to the control unit 1 via line 30. A display unit 3 is arranged to present a visual image of the virtual reality environment to the operator. First and second hand controls 4, 5 are coupled to the control unit 1 via lines 40, 50. Signals from hand controls 4, 5 to the control unit 1 on lines 40, 50 inform the control unit of the spatial positions of the hand control units 4, 5. Feedback signals are fed from the control unit 1 to the hand control units 4, 5 on lines 42, 52 as will be described later.

First and second probes 6, 7 are caused to move by signals on lines 60, 70 from control unit 1. Respective sensors 64, 74 on probes 6, 7 are coupled to the control unit 1 via lines 62, 72. Signals from a video camera 8 or other image device are coupled to the control unit 1 via line 80.

Operation is as follows. Virtual reality generator 2 contains a three dimensional representation of at least that part of the body on which an operation is to be performed. This may for example be a standardised representation which is "stretched" to fit the dimensions of the actual body being operated on by the so called "rubber sheet" transformations in known manner. The actual dimensions of the body may be obtained by any convenient method such as Magnetic Resonance Imaging or by using X Rays. An image of the actual body as seen from the location of the operator's probes is generated by video camera 8 in known manner e.g. by using an optical relay system to convey an image to a camera mounted externally of the body. The objective of the relay system is coupled to one of the probes 6, 7 so that the objective's spatial position and orientation are known.The interface unit 1 passes signals from the hand controls 4, 5 to the VR generator 2 so as to make the virtual reality image generated by the VR generator 2 of the relay system coupled to correspond to the view point seen by the objective camera 8. The actual and virtual images are viewable on the display 3. The display may show either the virtual image, the actual image, or a combination of both, either separately or superposed, according to operational requirements or convenience. The movement of the hand controls 4, 5 causes corresponding movement on probes 6, 7.

Signals generated by force sensors 64, 74, on the ends of probes 6, 7 are fed back to control unit 1. Unit 1 generates corresponding force feedback signals which are fed via lines 42, 52 to hand controls 4, 5 so as to provide tactile feedback to the operator.

In accordance with the invention, virtual reality generator 2 has virtual barriers built in to its map which cause virtual force feedback signals to be generated when a probe attempts to cross a virtual barrier. The virtual feedback signals are processed together with any actual force feedback signals which may be produced by sensors 64, 74 and the combined feedback signals are applied to hand controls 3, 4. Thus, on approaching a virtual barrier, the operator experiences the same sort of resistance that he would if he were approaching a physical barrier. Thus, referring to Figure 2, say it is required to investigate a real object A located in the vicinity of two delicate objects such as membranes B, C. Membranes B, C offer no appreciable physical resistance to probe 6 and could readily be damaged by probe 6 if it were to touch them.To prevent such damage the virtual reality generator 1 has built in to its map virtual barriers b, c which are models of physical barriers and which surround the delicate membranes B, C. The virtual barriers b, c have no physical existence and exist only in the virtual reality generator.

As a probe 4 approaches membrane B, so the control means 1 senses that the probe is approaching the virtual barrier b and causes a virtual feedback signal to be generated. This is summed with the actual feedback signal produced in response to sensor 64 and applied on line 42 to hand control 4 so as to prevent probe 6 from crossing the virtual barrier b. This also is effective to prevent damage should the operator accidentally release the hand control or make an unintended movement for any reason.

A number of modifications are possible within the scope of the invention. The virtual barrier need not be fixed in space but may be arranged to track the subject which it is protecting in real time.

For example, for membrane associated with the eye, the eye movements may be sensed and the virtual barrier surrounding the membrane moved accordingly. Movement of the virtual barrier may be such as to push a probe out of the way, thereby preventing damage which would be caused by the membrane striking the probe, as well as by the probe striking the membrane.

The virtual barrier may have any desired characteristics.

Instead of simulating a physical barrier which prevents the passage of a probe through it, it may merely provide an increased resistance to the passage of a probe, which resistance can be overcome by an application of sufficient force. For example, the virtual barrier may define a region having a higher viscosity than its surroundings, the resulting increased level of damping reducing the chance of an accidental slip or jerk by the operator. The virtual barrier may also be removable to allow intentional access to normally inhibited regions.

To provide the operator with a warning, the approaching of a virtual barrier may cause the triggering of an indicator such as an audible or visual alarm. The virtual barrier may be displayed as such on the display unit, superposed on the real visual image to allow the operator to "see" membranes or other delicate objects which would otherwise not readily be visible. While the embodiment has described the use of a television camera, any other suitable means may be employed, for example, ultrasound imaging, CAT imaging or X-rays.

Any desired combination of virtual and real images may be employed. The viewer may view only the virtual image, the real image being used only to ensure that the virtual image maps the real image. Alternatively, either image may be used, the virtual image being used to guide the probe to the region where it is to be used, switching to a visual display, possibly with superposed virtual barriers, when that region has been reached.

While the embodiment has been described in connection with an apparatus for performing medical operations, the invention may equally well be employed in any application where delicate objects or potentially hazardous situations exist. For example, where remote manipulations have to be made in the vicinity of electrically live circuits, a virtual barrier may be placed around items which are electrically live. Similarly a virtual barrier may be placed around optical surfaces which could be scratched by the accidental slipping of a manually controlled probe or tool. The teachings of the invention may also be applied to scenarios where remote control of instruments or probes is required, and where the accidental slipping of a tool or probe could cause damage or create a potentially hazardous situation.

Claims (15)

1. Apparatus for remotely operating a member in a real environment comprising: means to generate a virtual reality environment mapped on to the real environment; means to cause the member to respond to the virtual reality environment; and means to define a region of the virtual reality environment to have properties different from those of the corresponding region of the real environment.
2. Apparatus as claimed in Claim 1 wherein the properties of the said defined virtual reality region are such as to oppose passage of the member through or into the said corresponding region of the real environment.
3. Apparatus as claimed in Claim 1 or 2 in which the said properties are such as to prevent the member from entering the said corresponding region.
4. Apparatus as claimed in any preceding claim comprising means to disable the said different properties.
5. Apparatus as claimed in any preceding claim in which the member comprises a proximity sensor arranged to detect the presence of a solid object in the real environment and in which the means to define defines a virtual solid region, whereby the means to cause the member to respond to the virtual reality environment comprises a virtual proximity sensor, the apparatus comprising means to combine the subjects of the virtual proximity sensor and the real proximity sensor.
6. Apparatus as claimed in any preceding claim in'which the member is operated by a manually operated control having tactile feedback in which the means to cause the member to respond to the virtual reality environment causes tactile feedback to be generated in response to the member approaching the defined region of the virtual reality environment.
7. Apparatus as claimed in any one of Claims 2 to 6 in which the defined region of the virtual reality environment is capable of being moved, arranged such that movement of the defined region towards the member causes displacement of the member so as to prevent entry of the member therein.
8. Apparatus according to Claim 7 in which the size of the defined region is capable of being varied.
9. Apparatus as claimed in Claim 7 comprising means to establish the position of a real object in the real environment and means to establish the position of the defined region with respect to the real object.
10. Apparatus as claimed in Claim 9, further comprising means to maintain the relationship between the defined region and the real object as the real object moves in the real environment.
11. Apparatus according to any preceding claim comprising means to allow simultaneous viewing of the real environment and the virtual reality environment.
12. Apparatus as claimed in Claim 11 comprising means to superpose a view of at least part of the virtual reality environment on a view of at least part of the real environment.
13. Apparatus as claimed in any one of Claims 2 to 12 in which at least part of said defined region comprises a virtual duct arranged to guide the probe to a desired location.
14. Apparatus as claimed in any one of Claims 2 to 12 in which at least part of said defined region is constructed in the form of a virtual duct by the passage of the probe through the real environment whereby the probe is removable from the real environment by being pulled back through the virtual duct.
15. Apparatus as claimed in Claim 13 or Claim 14 that comprises means to create a further portion of said defined region beyond the probe, said further defined region being expandable, whereby expanding said further region causes c the probe to be pushed back along the virtual duct.
GB9505448A 1995-03-17 1995-03-17 Virtual force feedback for synthetic environment Expired - Fee Related GB2298931B (en)

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GB2298931A true GB2298931A (en) 1996-09-18
GB2298931B GB2298931B (en) 1999-03-10

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Cited By (8)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
FR2771202A1 (en) * 1997-11-19 1999-05-21 Inst Nat Rech Inf Automat Electronic processing of image data to simulate deformation of object
US6158136A (en) * 1998-03-06 2000-12-12 Carl-Zeiss-Stiftung Coordinate measuring apparatus with user assist
EP1094377A1 (en) * 1999-10-22 2001-04-25 Bertrand Pittet Remote control of a vehicle
WO2002060653A2 (en) * 2001-01-29 2002-08-08 The Acrobot Company Limited Active-constraint robots
US9266239B2 (en) 2005-12-27 2016-02-23 Intuitive Surgical Operations, Inc. Constraint based control in a minimally invasive surgical apparatus
US9498231B2 (en) 2011-06-27 2016-11-22 Board Of Regents Of The University Of Nebraska On-board tool tracking system and methods of computer assisted surgery
US10105149B2 (en) 2013-03-15 2018-10-23 Board Of Regents Of The University Of Nebraska On-board tool tracking system and methods of computer assisted surgery
US10219811B2 (en) 2011-06-27 2019-03-05 Board Of Regents Of The University Of Nebraska On-board tool tracking system and methods of computer assisted surgery

Citations (1)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US5255211A (en) * 1990-02-22 1993-10-19 Redmond Productions, Inc. Methods and apparatus for generating and processing synthetic and absolute real time environments

Patent Citations (1)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US5255211A (en) * 1990-02-22 1993-10-19 Redmond Productions, Inc. Methods and apparatus for generating and processing synthetic and absolute real time environments

Cited By (15)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US6714901B1 (en) 1997-11-19 2004-03-30 Inria Institut National De Recherche En Informatique Et En Automatique Electronic device for processing image-data, for simulating the behaviour of a deformable object
WO1999026119A1 (en) * 1997-11-19 1999-05-27 Inria Institut National De Recherche En Informatique Et En Automatique Electronic device for processing image-data, for simulating the behaviour of a deformable object
FR2771202A1 (en) * 1997-11-19 1999-05-21 Inst Nat Rech Inf Automat Electronic processing of image data to simulate deformation of object
US6158136A (en) * 1998-03-06 2000-12-12 Carl-Zeiss-Stiftung Coordinate measuring apparatus with user assist
EP1094377A1 (en) * 1999-10-22 2001-04-25 Bertrand Pittet Remote control of a vehicle
WO2001031413A1 (en) * 1999-10-22 2001-05-03 Ldv S.A. Vehicle remote control
WO2002060653A2 (en) * 2001-01-29 2002-08-08 The Acrobot Company Limited Active-constraint robots
WO2002060653A3 (en) * 2001-01-29 2003-06-05 Acrobot Company Ltd Active-constraint robots
US7035716B2 (en) 2001-01-29 2006-04-25 The Acrobot Company Limited Active-constraint robots
US9266239B2 (en) 2005-12-27 2016-02-23 Intuitive Surgical Operations, Inc. Constraint based control in a minimally invasive surgical apparatus
US10159535B2 (en) 2005-12-27 2018-12-25 Intuitive Surgical Operations, Inc. Constraint based control in a minimally invasive surgical apparatus
US9498231B2 (en) 2011-06-27 2016-11-22 Board Of Regents Of The University Of Nebraska On-board tool tracking system and methods of computer assisted surgery
US10080617B2 (en) 2011-06-27 2018-09-25 Board Of Regents Of The University Of Nebraska On-board tool tracking system and methods of computer assisted surgery
US10219811B2 (en) 2011-06-27 2019-03-05 Board Of Regents Of The University Of Nebraska On-board tool tracking system and methods of computer assisted surgery
US10105149B2 (en) 2013-03-15 2018-10-23 Board Of Regents Of The University Of Nebraska On-board tool tracking system and methods of computer assisted surgery

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Publication number Publication date
GB9505448D0 (en) 1995-05-03
GB2298931B (en) 1999-03-10

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Effective date: 20040317