A Variable Stiffness Robotic Probe for Soft Tissue Palpation

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Title: A Variable Stiffness Robotic Probe for Soft Tissue Palpation
Author(s): Herzig, N
Maiolino, P
Iida, F
Nanayakkara, D
Item Type: Journal Article
Abstract: During abdominal palpation diagnosis, a medical practitioner would change the stiffness of their fingers in order to improve the detection of hard nodules or abnormalities in soft tissue to maximize the haptic information gain via tendons. Our recent experiments using a controllable stiffness robotic probe representing a human finger also confirmed that such stiffness control in the finger can enhance the accuracy of detecting hard nodules in soft tissue. However, the limited range of stiffness achieved by the antagonistic springs variable stiffness joint subject to size constraints made it unsuitable for a wide range of physical examination scenarios spanning from breast to abdominal examination. In this letter, we present a new robotic probe based on a variable lever mechanism able to achieve stiffness ranging from 0.64 to 1.06 N ⋅m/rad that extends the maximum stiffness by around 16 times and the stiffness range by 33 times. This letter presents the mechanical model of the novel probe, the finite element simulation as well as experimental characterization of the stiffness response for lever actuation.
Publication Date: 15-Jan-2018
Date of Acceptance: 29-Dec-2017
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10044/1/55629
DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1109/LRA.2018.2793961
ISSN: 2377-3766
Publisher: Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
Start Page: 1168
End Page: 1175
Journal / Book Title: IEEE Robotics and Automation Letters
Volume: 3
Issue: 2
Sponsor/Funder: Engineering & Physical Science Research Council (EPSRC)
Engineering & Physical Science Research Council (EPSRC)
Funder's Grant Number: EP/N032772/1
Copyright Statement: This article is open access via the publisher's website: https://dx.doi.org/10.1109/LRA.2018.2793961
Publication Status: Published
Appears in Collections:Faculty of Engineering
Dyson School of Design Engineering

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