Touch Sensor to Detect Skin Cancer

Saturday, May 10, 2008

A special type of touch sensor has been produced by Iranian researchers of Amir Kabir University of Technology’s Faculty of Medical Engineering which is capable of detecting dermal abnormalities.

Rouzbeh Khoddam-Bashi, student of master’s degree in biomechanics, has noted that in many instances, physicians cannot use their own sense of touch to detect skin tags.

“In these instances, a sensory robot will be able to move on human skin and analyze its characteristics before delivering them to the doctor as supplementary data,” he said.

Khoddam-Bashi further noted that diagnosing subcutaneous malignancies is an application of the sensor, adding, “The sensor works like human hand. That is, after touching the tissue, it exerts a certain amount of force on it and the force changes the surface morphology of the skin. Then the new morphology which contains information related to the hidden tag (maybe a tumor) will be detected by the sensor.”

He said the resultant information can be used to determine various parameters of the tumor like its size, consistency, shape, and location.

“By moving the sensor on parallel courses, you would be able to draw a 3-D picture of the skin surface, which would show the limits as well as location of the tumor,” he said.

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