A team from the University of Bristol has developed a device capable of performing clinical breast examinations (CBE). The robotic manipulator, designed at the Bristol Robotics Laboratory, applies specific forces similar to those used by human examiners and can detect lumps at greater depths using sensor technology.

This innovation could revolutionize how women monitor their breast health by providing access to secure electronic CBEs in easily accessible locations like pharmacies and health centers.

The precision, repeatability, and accuracy of these tactile medical exams are crucial for favorable patient outcomes. The research team, supervised by Dr. Antonia Tzemanaki, presented their robotic palpation mechanism, known as IRIS, at the RO-MAN conference. The device, created through 3D printing and computer numerical control techniques, underwent testing with simulated breast tissue and silicon models. The experiments demonstrated the manipulator’s capability to palpate realistic breast shapes and sizes, showcasing its potential in improving breast examination standards.

As a next step, the team will integrate CBE techniques learned from professionals with AI and fully equip the manipulator with sensors to assess the overall system’s effectiveness in identifying potential cancer risks. The ultimate goal is for the device and sensors to have the capability to detect lumps with greater precision and depth than what is achievable through human touch alone. This technology may also be integrated with other existing techniques, such as ultrasound.

Article written by Nvdes