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are integrated into assistive devices, such as
drug-delivery infusion pumps, which help
detect potentially life-threatening blockages.
These pumps deliver essential drugs to the
patients on a daily basis, so blockage detection
is a key feature. When a blockage occurs in the
pump, the tubing within the pump expands.
The custom force sensor—located where the
tubing meets the housing—in turn, detects this
expansion by monitoring the force applied
to the sensor by a section of the tubing. The
sensor then triggers an alarm to alert the user
of a detected blockage and to take the neces-
sary steps to correct the problem in
order to reduce any negative effects.
Assistive devices, such as the infusion
pump, help patients gain control and
insight into their health and progress.
Force sensing technology also
improves training devices in the
medical field. Field experience is a
key component for trainees in order
to increase their skill set and gain
knowledge as well as experience in
their field. Training medical devices
have become increasingly important
in establishing standards among med-
ical professionals and trainees. For
example, cardiopulmonary resuscita-
tion (CPR) is a lifesaving technique
performed by millions of people
each year; however, it is often poorly
executed and a significant percentage
of CPR trainees lack the ability to
perform it successfully in life-threat-
ening scenarios. Performing CPR can
be very risky and involves a specific
technique to avoid life-threatening
injuries. Force sensors have been
incorporated into interactive CPR
manikins used in CPR training programs. The
force sensors within the manikin help locate
the pressure points of the hand compressions
applied, ensuring proper hand placement. The
relationship of force to depth estimates the
proper compression depth. This quantifiable
data helps trainees make the proper adjust-
ments and practice their technique, in turn
increasing their confidence in performing CPR
in real-life scenarios.
In conclusion, the integration of tactile force
sensors into medical devices to obtain force measurements is increasingly becoming an industry
standard. Doctors and surgeons are looking for
quantifiable data to help support their diagnoses
and speed up their patients’ recovery processes.
The data provided by force sensors not only
improves patient outcomes, but also provides
a standard of consistency, which is a common
goal among medical practitioners. Although each
patient’s case is different, consistency among
treatments and therapies is critical. When a
patient is under evaluation, being able to study
quantifiable data and base treatment on concrete
numbers and science is the ideal.
For more information, visit www.tekscan.com.
Drug delivery pump designed with FlexiForce A201
Tactile force sensor integrated into surgical