A flexible digit with tactile feedback for invasive clinical applications

X. Ma*, P. N. Brett, M. T. Wright, M. V. Griffiths

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper describes research on measurement of tactile sense using a flexible digit appropriate to endoscopy and minimal access surgery. It is envisaged that the sensing method will facilitate the navigation of flexible invasive devices, such as endoscopes, and also aid diagnosis using tactile perception as well as visual observation. The proposed master-slave digit system incorporates the application of the distributive sensing method applied to tactile sensing in order to discriminate different contact conditions of the flexible digit. The paper concentrates on the description of the application of this method and places this in the context of the user and the integrated system. The approach to sensing is able to discriminate the position, magnitude, distributed profile and width of the applied contacting load by using only four sensing points. Values to describe these parameters are evaluated to an accuracy greater than 93 per cent.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)151-157
Number of pages7
JournalProceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part H: Journal of Engineering in Medicine
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2004


  • Endoscopy
  • Flexible digit
  • Minimal invasive surgery
  • Neural network application
  • Sensor
  • Tactile


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