Action Augmentation of Tactile Perception for Soft-Body Palpation.

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Hughes, Josie 
Maiolino, Perla 
He, Liang 
Nanayakkara, Thrishantha 

Medical palpation is a diagnostic technique in which physicians use the sense of touch to manipulate the soft human tissue. This can be done to enable the diagnosis of possibly life-threatening conditions, such as cancer. Palpation is still poorly understood because of the complex interaction dynamics between the practitioners' hands and the soft human body. To understand this complex of soft body interactions, we explore robotic palpation for the purpose of diagnosing the presence of abnormal inclusions, or tumors. Using a Bayesian framework for training and classification, we show that the exploration of soft bodies requires complex, multi-axis, palpation trajectories. We also find that this probabilistic approach is capable of rapidly searching the large action space of the robot. This work progresses "robotic" palpation, and it provides frameworks for understanding and exploiting soft body interactions.

soft haptics, soft tactile perception, soft tissue palpation, Bayes Theorem, Humans, Palpation, Robotics, Touch, Touch Perception
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Soft Robot
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Mary Ann Liebert Inc
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Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EP/N029003/1)
Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) (CP 172)
EPSRC (EP/T00519X/1)
This work was funded by the UK Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (CP 172), Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) MOTION grant [EP/N03211X/2] and RoboPatient grant [EP/T00519X/1].