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  • Haptic Glove and Platform with Gestural Control For Neuromorphic Tactile Sensory Feedback In Medical Telepresence †.

Haptic Glove and Platform with Gestural Control For Neuromorphic Tactile Sensory Feedback In Medical Telepresence †.

Sensors (Basel, Switzerland) (2019-02-06)
Jessica D'Abbraccio, Luca Massari, Sahana Prasanna, Laura Baldini, Francesca Sorgini, Giuseppe Airò Farulla, Andrea Bulletti, Marina Mazzoni, Lorenzo Capineri, Arianna Menciassi, Petar Petrovic, Eduardo Palermo, Calogero Maria Oddo
ABSTRACT

Advancements in the study of the human sense of touch are fueling the field of haptics. This is paving the way for augmenting sensory perception during object palpation in tele-surgery and reproducing the sensed information through tactile feedback. Here, we present a novel tele-palpation apparatus that enables the user to detect nodules with various distinct stiffness buried in an ad-hoc polymeric phantom. The contact force measured by the platform was encoded using a neuromorphic model and reproduced on the index fingertip of a remote user through a haptic glove embedding a piezoelectric disk. We assessed the effectiveness of this feedback in allowing nodule identification under two experimental conditions of real-time telepresence: In Line of Sight (ILS), where the platform was placed in the visible range of a user; and the more demanding Not In Line of Sight (NILS), with the platform and the user being 50 km apart. We found that the entailed percentage of identification was higher for stiffer inclusions with respect to the softer ones (average of 74% within the duration of the task), in both telepresence conditions evaluated. These promising results call for further exploration of tactile augmentation technology for telepresence in medical interventions.