Abstract

Tactile sensing is an emerging technological advancement in surgical robotics in order to probe interactions between confined tissue environments and instruments based on touch information. The tactile sense can assist in improving the efficiency of the whole practice and hence enhance precision, control, and safety during surgery. This paper demonstrates a distinct proof-of-concept therapeutic device equipped with a soft tactile sensor. The tactile sensor was custom-made using flexible piezoresistive materials and conductive ink, wrapped with a biocompatible hydrogel polymer matrix for safer human–tissue interactions. The proposed tactile sensor was then calibrated and its performance was compared with gold standard sensors. It was further tested with a continuous force (5 N) for an extended period of time (about 6 h) to address robustness and repeatability. The sensor showed a sensitivity of 0.833 N−1 and a drift of ≤1%. Successful cadaver experiment demonstrates the efficiency of tactile sensing assistance to clinicians.

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