Visuotactile Sensor Enabled Pneumatic Device Towards Compliant Oropharyngeal Swab Sampling

by   Shoujie Li, et al.
Tsinghua University

Manual oropharyngeal (OP) swab sampling is an intensive and risky task. In this article, a novel OP swab sampling device of low cost and high compliance is designed by combining the visuo-tactile sensor and the pneumatic actuator-based gripper. Here, a concave visuo-tactile sensor called CoTac is first proposed to address the problems of high cost and poor reliability of traditional multi-axis force sensors. Besides, by imitating the doctor's fingers, a soft pneumatic actuator with a rigid skeleton structure is designed, which is demonstrated to be reliable and safe via finite element modeling and experiments. Furthermore, we propose a sampling method that adopts a compliant control algorithm based on the adaptive virtual force to enhance the safety and compliance of the swab sampling process. The effectiveness of the device has been verified through sampling experiments as well as in vivo tests, indicating great application potential. The cost of the device is around 30 US dollars and the total weight of the functional part is less than 0.1 kg, allowing the device to be rapidly deployed on various robotic arms. Videos, hardware, and source code are available at:


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