Flexible tactile digital feedback for clinical applications

  • Yusuf Bulale

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


Trauma and damage to the delicate structures of the inner ear frequently occurs during insertion of electrode array into the cochlea. This is strongly related to the excessive manual insertion force of the surgeon without any tool/tissue interaction feedback. The research is examined tool-tissue interaction of large prototype scale (12.5:1) digit embedded with distributive tactile sensor based upon cochlear electrode and large prototype scale (4.5:1) cochlea phantom for simulating the human cochlear which could lead to small scale digit requirements. This flexible digit classified the tactile information from the digit-phantom interaction such as contact status, tip penetration, obstacles, relative shape and location, contact orientation and multiple contacts. The digit, distributive tactile sensors embedded with silicon-substrate is inserted into the cochlea phantom to measure any digit/phantom interaction and position of the digit in order to minimize tissue and trauma damage during the electrode cochlear insertion. The digit is pre-curved in cochlea shape so that the digit better conforms to the shape of the scala tympani to lightly hug the modiolar wall of a scala.
The digit have provided information on the characteristics of touch, digit-phantom interaction during the digit insertion. The tests demonstrated that even devices of such a relative simple design with low cost have potential to improve cochlear implants surgery and other lumen mapping applications by providing tactile feedback information by controlling the insertion through sensing and control of the tip of the implant during the insertion. In that approach, the surgeon could minimize the tissue damage and potential damage to the delicate structures within the cochlear caused by current manual electrode insertion of the cochlear implantation. This approach also can be applied diagnosis and path navigation procedures. The digit is a large scale stage and could be miniaturized in future to include more realistic surgical procedures.
Date of Award6 Aug 2014
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorMark Prince (Supervisor)


  • cochlear implantation
  • minimally invasive surgery
  • minimally access surgery
  • fexible digit
  • tool/tissue interaction
  • distributive tactile system
  • cochlear electrode insertion
  • tactile information

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