Elasticity measurement of soft tissues using hybrid tactile and MARG based displacement sensor systems

Hampson, Rory and Dobie, Gordon and West, Graeme (2019) Elasticity measurement of soft tissues using hybrid tactile and MARG based displacement sensor systems. IEEE Sensors Journal, 19 (22). pp. 10262-10270. ISSN 1530-437X

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    Abstract

    This paper presents a novel soft tissue elasticity measurement technique based on the fusion of Magnetic, Angular Rate, and Gravity (MARG) sensors and fixed tactile sensors. This paper is intended both as a stand-alone technology and as an extension of traditional tactile imaging of the breast to allow for accurate diagnosis of breast lesions. A series of artificial silicone materials known to imitate soft biological breast tissues is characterized using the proposed system and compared against an Instron universal testing machine to determine the system accuracy and repeatability. Comparing the characteristics of ten distinct materials, with elasticities in the range 9-90 kPa, determined by the proposed system to those from the Instron yields accuracy within 4% over the full-scale range. Interexperimental repeatability is within 1.5%. The proposed system delivers absolute elasticity of materials to within 4%, which, when combined with its lack of moving parts and low implementation cost, can significantly improve the diagnostic capability of tactile imaging in the clinical environment. By applying this technique, to determine the background elasticity of breast tissue, in conjunction with the relative lesion elasticity result from tactile arrays, the full non-invasive diagnostic potential of tactile imaging can be realized with the effect of reducing benign biopsy rates, secondary care costs, and patient stress.