BACKGROUND: The main difficulty in constructing palpation simulators is to compute and to generate stable and realistic haptic feedback without vibration. When a user haptically interacts with highly non-homogeneous soft tissues through a palpation simulator, a sudden change of stiffness in target tissues causes unstable interaction with the object.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: We propose a model consisting of a virtual adjustable damper and an energy measuring element. The energy measuring element gauges energy which is stored in a palpation simulator and the virtual adjustable damper dissipates the energy to achieve stable haptic interaction.
RESULTS: To investigate the haptic behavior of the proposed method, impulse and continuous inputs are provided to target tissues. If a haptic interface point meets with the hardest portion in the target tissues modeled with a conventional method, we observe unstable motion and feedback force. However, when the target tissues are modeled with the proposed method, a palpation simulator provides stable interaction without vibration.
CONCLUSION: The proposed method overcomes a problem in conventional haptic palpation simulators where unstable force or vibration can be generated if there is a big discrepancy in material property between an element and its neighboring elements in target tissues.