Multi-fingered haptic palpation using pneumatic feedback actuators

Min Li, Shan Luo, Thrishantha Nanayakkara, Lakmal D. Seneviratne, Prokar Dasgupta, Kaspar Althoefer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


This paper proposes a multi-fingered palpation method which employs pneumatic haptic feedback actuators allowing users to experience haptic sensations at multiple fingers while carrying out remote soft tissue palpation. Pneumatic actuators are used to vary the stress on the user's fingertips in accordance with the tissue stiffness, experienced during manual palpation. The proposed method reduces actuator elements compared to tactile actuators and provides more information than single-point force feedback. The results of our finite element analysis have proven that our pneumatic haptic feedback device can recreate the contact stress between fingertip and soft tissue during palpation. The accuracy (96.8% vs. 93.3%) and time-efficiency (4.6 s vs. 8.3 s) advantages of using three-fingered over single-fingered palpation have been confirmed in our user study results of stiffness levels discrimination. Relatively good tumor detection sensitivities have been demonstrated by the palpation user study which has showed a direct correlation between tumor size and detection sensitivity and has further proven the efficiency of the proposed actuator and multi-fingered palpation method for tumor detection in palpation simulation.

Original languageBritish English
Pages (from-to)132-141
Number of pages10
JournalSensors and Actuators, A: Physical
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2014


  • Haptic feedback
  • Multi-fingered feedback
  • Palpation simulation
  • Pneumatic haptic actuator
  • Tumor identification


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