A Sensor That Could Facilitate the Early Diagnosis of Tumors, Lesions

Chang-Hee Won's prototype device, developed at Temple University, hooks up to any computer and can determine size, shape, and elasticity.

TISGEN-Post.jpg

A prototype device developed at Temple University emulates human tactile sensation while providing objective feedback related to the mechanical properties of what it touches. Developed by Chang-Hee Won, an associate professor of electrical and computer engineering, the sensor could one day be used by doctors in the diagnosis of lumps, lesions, or tumors during physical exams. The device could be used to help determine the size and shape of the lesion or tumor, as well as its elasticity and mobility. The prototype device is used in conjunction with a scoring system to help determine malignancy.

"Once a doctor feels a lesion, lump, or tumor, they can use this device to actually characterize the mechanical properties of the irregularity that they have felt," Won explained in a statement.

From the announcement:

Won said that studies have shown that cancerous lesions and tumors tend to be larger, more irregular in shape or have harder elasticity. "Using the information gleaned by our device, we can determine the probability of this lesion or tumor being either malignant or benign."

The portable tactile imaging sensor can be attached to any desktop or laptop computer that has a Firewire cable port. Equipped with four LED lights and a camera, the 4.5-inch device has a flexible transparent elastomer cube on the end, into which light is injected.

When the doctor feels an irregularity while giving a patient a physical exam, he or she can place the sensor against the skin where the irregularity was felt. The sensor uses the total internal reflection principle, which keeps the injected light within the elastomer cube unless an intrusion from a lesion or tumor changes the contour of the elastomer's surface, in which case the light will reflect out of the cube.

The sensor's camera will then capture the lesion or tumor images caused by the reflected light and they are processed with a novel algorithm developed by the CSNAP Lab to calculate the lesion's mechanical properties.

The finished device is likely to also be inexpensive; the prototype costs approximately $500.

Image: Temple University.


This post also appears on medGadget, an Atlantic partner site.

Presented by

medGadget is written by a group of MDs and biomedical engineers.

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well. Bestselling author Mark Bittman teaches James Hamblin the recipe that everyone is Googling.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well.

Video

Before Tinder, a Tree

Looking for your soulmate? Write a letter to the "Bridegroom's Oak" in Germany.

Video

The Health Benefits of Going Outside

People spend too much time indoors. One solution: ecotherapy.

Video

Where High Tech Meets the 1950s

Why did Green Bank, West Virginia, ban wireless signals? For science.

Video

Yes, Quidditch Is Real

How J.K. Rowling's magical sport spread from Hogwarts to college campuses

Video

Would You Live in a Treehouse?

A treehouse can be an ideal office space, vacation rental, and way of reconnecting with your youth.

More in Health

Just In