Design Engineering
Showcase

A Visual Feedback System for Abdominal Palpation Training

Student
Jacob Tan
Course
Design Engineering MEng
Supervisor
Dr Thrishantha Nanayakkara
Theme
This is Going to Help

Existing manual palpation training systems for medical students focus on utilising haptic feedback to recreate a learning experience similar to that on a real patient. Visual feedback is an equally important information source for the examiner but has not been included in such systems. This project proposes a visual feedback system that displays pain reaction as facial expressions for abdominal palpation training simulators.

This software-based system can be customised to simulate patients of different gender, age, ethnicity, and pain sensitivity; making it a versatile teaching tool for healthcare trainers, and a realistic experience for the trainees. A novel, user-based approach to modelling perceptions of pain was developed to enable computer-generated 3-D human avatars to accurately express different intensities of pain. The facial expression visual feedback method was tested against other pain intensity feedback methods, and has proven to be equally as effective and efficient. A virtual tissue dynamics simulation was also developed to integrate with the facial expression feedback, with custom settings of the viscoelastic properties of the abdominal tissue model to simulate various symptoms. Finally, the integrated virtual palpation training simulator is an open-source software package, compatible with multiple operating systems and platforms.

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