Laparoscopic surgeries use small incisions and video equipment to perform operations without the cutting and trauma typically associated with surgery. This method reduces damage to healthy tissue, which is great, but also means that surgeons can’t physically feel the area they’re operating on.
The Egypt-Japan University of Science and Technology created a tactile display system to give doctors their sense of touch back. Using NI LabVIEW software, NI PXI-6259, and springs, researchers reproduced the stiffness and shapes of real objects and created a control system to analyze and display the tactile readings.
The tactile system uses two shape memory alloy (SMA) springs to mimic objects with varying shapes and stiffness. Then the pins in a 5x5 matrix detect the displacement and stiffness of the springs as variables.
The control system uses LabVIEW to gather data every 50ms, so the team used the PXI-6259 DAQ device to handle the huge amount of data moving back and forth. An Arduino kit and power source amplified the control output in order to create the high current required to move the SMA springs.
This groundbreaking solution addresses one of the challenges of laparoscopic surgery and could be used in mobile applications or virtual reality environments as well as surgical operations.