Novel visuo-tactile sensing mechanisms for soft tissue manipulation
Manipulation of soft tissues is an important part of many application areas, ranging from surgical systems to food processing and other manufacturing operations. In the surgical setting, there is a pressing need for new small form factor solutions that enable detailed characterisation of the continuum mechanics properties of tissues – something that is hard to do with off the shelf sensing systems. Incorporating such sensors within robots that can perform active model-based sensing would represent a step change towards generalisable autonomy in these application areas.
We propose new approaches that combine:
- 3D printed metamaterials that enable passive mechanical amplification of small deformations
- Neuromorphic sensing systems including event based cameras
- Physically-informed machine learning models for inversion of these measurements, and active steering of sensing, to achieve real-time high resolution sensing of continuum mechanical properties
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