Tissue-aware surgical smart tools [1] could increase the safety and effectiveness of surgical procedures, especially for minimally invasive procedures that are poorly imaged and robotic surgery procedures that lack tactile feedback [2–4]. Tools equipped with tissue differentiation sensing could warn the surgeon of approaching danger in real-time, as well as verify procedural methods and results. Tissue sensing is currently also a weak link in the development of an accurate and safe closed loop robotic surgical procedure program.

Different electrical, mechanical, and optical properties of tissue have been used to image and have been explored in regards to their ability to distinguish tissue [3,5,6]. Using optical properties, however, may hold the greatest potential for embedding sensing at the tool-tip, as there are significant differences in the optical properties of tissues, and the use of optical fibers...

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