Action Augmentation of Tactile Perception for Soft-Body Palpation.
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.
Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) (CP 172)