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Monitoring System for Diabetic Foot Ulceration Patients Using Robotic Palpation

Woonjae Choi and Bummo Ahn*
International Journal of Control, Automation, and Systems, vol. 18, no. 1, pp.46-52, 2020

Abstract : Foot ulceration in diabetic patients is commonly occurred and leads to amputation of the leg. Furthermore, pathogenesis of the foot ulceration is not only clinical presentation variable and complicated, but also required medical management at early stage. However, patients, initially, have been neglected the condition of their feet because the initial ulcer does not have a major effect on the patient’s life. Therefore, the foot ulceration becomes serious, and then the patients come to treat in the hospital. Therefore, early diagnosis is important for the treatment of the foot ulceration in diabetic patients. Recently, the changes in mechanical properties (Elastic moduli) of the plantar tissue were found to be important factors in the diagnosis of diabetic foot ulceration. In this paper, we, therefore, developed a monitoring system that can measure the elastic moduli of the plantar tissue of patients, which can be used to check the condition of patients’ feet with monitoring the elastic moduli change of plantar tissue. The system was designed to be portable and easy to use, and is consists of probe, force sensor, linear actuator, micro control unit, display module, battery, and housing. To validate the system performance, we carried out palpation experiments with applying 3mm and 5mm palpation depths to tissue phantom. In addition, we measured the reaction forces according to the applied palpations and estimated the elastic moduli of the tissue phantom. We also performed the experiments on the plantar tissue of human at the same experimental condition and estimated the elastic moduli of the plantar tissue. From the results, the estimated elastic moduli on tissue phantom show similar value even if the palpation depths are different. The results were similar when the plantar tissues were tested, which means that the system can be used to monitor the foot ulceration in diabetic patients.

Keyword : Diabetic foot ulceration, monitoring, portable system, robotic palpation.

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