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Catheter-based cardiac ablation is an interventional treatment for heart arrhythmias. Pull-wire steerable catheters are guided to the heart chambers through the vasculature in order to deliver energy to destroy faulty electrical pathways in the heart. The effectiveness of this treatment is dependent on the accuracy of positioning the catheter tip at the target location and also on maintaining contact with the target while the heart is beating. Therefore, it is desirable to perform hybrid force/position control of the catheter tip. We have studied the problem of modeling the distal part of a steerable catheter using beam theory and have developed and validated a static force-deflection model through extensive experiments. It is shown that the model can estimate the shape of the bending section of a catheter using force information and without requiring any knowledge of the catheter’s internal structure.

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