Tumors often look identical to healthy nearby tissue, but they tend to feel different. Surgeons often use their fingers to feel the size and shape of what’s to be resected, but palpation is essentially impossible when relying on minimally invasive access. A team of researchers from Canadian Surgical Technologies & Advanced Robotics (CSTAR) and Western University developed a robotic arm compatible with the da Vinci robotic surgical system that can sense how hard or soft a tissue is. The device was an entry into the Surgical Robot Challenge 2015 recently hosted by Imperial College London.
The device has an ultrasound transducer on one side and a tactile sensor on the other. Flipping between the two lets you access either modality quickly and compare the images to identify the tumor.
Here’s a great video showing off and explaining the technology from Western University:
Here’s also a video highlight of some of the devices presented: