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A team comprising mechanical engineering professors Javad Dargahi and Muthukumaran Packirisamy and PhD student Saeed Sokhanvar made a breakthrough by developing a prototype of an endoscopic tactile sensor that exhibits many of the tactile capabilities of the human hand.
We have told you about previous generations of these tactile sensors in the Journal, notably in the issue of Oct. 27, 2005 (“Engineering with a human touch”). They are now in their third generation.
The sensor can sense the magnitude and the position of an applied force, slippage of a grasping tool, and the softness of an object, such as a cancerous tumour. The engineers have designed the sensor to be compatible with the grasper of many minimally invasive surgery (MIS) tools, as well as to be easily fabricated by microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) techniques.
An account of the work was published in the recent issue of Journal of Smart Materials and Structures.
Now a web group called PhysOrg.com has published an article about this research, considering it “one of the top 500 technical stories in the world” this year. The story, titled “Tactile sensor acts as a human finger in minimally invasive surgery,” is posted at www.physorg.com/news102155952.html.
“PhysOrg covers many areas of science and technology, but favours physics and nanotechnology,” Dargahi explained. “The articles are chosen by a team of web editors based in the Netherlands. Some articles are from other sources, while others are original content on PhysOrg written by freelancers.
“The original articles are considered to be some of the most significant and interesting research news overall. They are also very timely, and many times appear first on PhysOrg.”
The commercial website gets several thousand visitors per day and has thousands of registered members. So far, about 4,000 visitors have read the story, and rated it as 4.7 out of 5.0.