4DSP’s Sensuron Unit Announces Revolutionary 3D Shape Sensing for Medical Applications

2020 update: 3D Shape Sensing technology has been spun out and is now available from The Shape Sensing Company.

January 28, 2015

AUSTIN, TX – 4DSP announces the release of groundbreaking 3D shape sensing technology that will change the landscape for medical instrumentation developers and physicians. Through its new Sensuron unit, 4DSP is the leading global provider of Optical Sensing Systems that use light to test and measure both the integrity of materials and the performance of new design solutions for the energy, mining, medical, and aerospace & defense industries. 4DSP, along with its partner NASA, won the R&D Magazine R&D 100 Award in 2013 for its revolutionary fiber optic sensing technology.

“There are numerous opportunities for improving the efficacy and safety of minimally invasive, or invasive surgical procedures using 4DSP’s technology,” said Alex Tongue, 4DSP Application Engineer for Fiber Optic Sensing Technology. “Based on continuous fiber optic sensors, our system can aid in navigating and positioning endoscopes and catheters by overcoming several of the shortcomings of traditional methods,” he added.

The advantages of optical shape sensors in medical applications are their very small diameter and chemical inertness which allow them to be integrated with existing minimally invasive technologies. The sensors are unique in that they can sense in a spatially continuous manner, providing information about the location of the entire length of the instrument without the use of X-rays or ultrasound.

The 3D data generated can be plotted in real-time and displayed visually on a monitor to show the position of the instrument. The image can also be compared to known coordinates of locations within the body, enabling physicians to pair the visual reference from the tip of an endoscope with knowledge of how and where the rest of the instrument is positioned. This improved positional awareness can help with real-time guidance of the instrument, minimize the injection of foreign material into a patient’s body, and do away with radiation.

“The boundaries of fiber optic sensing techniques are forever being pushed, and this shape sensing application has taken the technology to a whole new level. Our All Grating Fiber used in this application comprises densely spaced Draw Tower Gratings (DTGs) over the full length of the fiber. This makes precise measurements possible over a wide strain or temperature range with spatial resolution down to a few millimeters,” said David Johnson, Sales & Marketing Manager for FBGS, a 4DSP partner. “This is a great opportunity for 4DSP and FBGS to combine these technologies to produce a shape sensing solution that offers so much promise to the medical industry,” he added.

This 3D shape sensing technology from 4DSP and Sensuron can overcome the complexity associated with ultrasonic and fluoroscopic visualization methods and mitigate surgical risk by enabling the development of repeatable, accurate, and effective techniques. An article on this topic by Alex Tongue is available at Extension Media’s EECatalog.

About Sensuron

Sensuron is a leading global provider of fiber optic sensing systems that use light to test, measure and control applications across the aerospace, medical and energy industries. With seven years of experience working closely with NASA, Sensuron has a rich heritage in groundbreaking innovation and customer success. Sensuron’s mission is to solve problems on a global scale by utilizing light-based technologies that ensure equipment is functional, reliable and safe. The company strives not only to provide the most sophisticated sensing platforms on the market, but also to serve today’s engineers by providing the information they require to advance their innovations. In these ways and many others, Sensuron continues to help customers achieve their objectives today and will do so for years to come.

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