Sensor Pad and Software for Training Doctors in Breast Examinations

Sensor pad for medical device training

This custom designed sensor pad and firmware is used as part of a system for simulation-training of medical professionals on how to accurately and correctly detect tumors in synthetic breast models.

The Client

RightHand's client is a recognized leader for advancing breast examination standards with its revolutionary technology that provides training to improve and objectively confirm practitioners' ability to detect very small breast tumors while reducing false positives.

The Need

The client's staff scientists developed a series of tactually accurate silicone breast models containing small, simulated breast cancers that are considered the standard for measuring breast examination proficiency.

For training and testing purposes, the challenge was to link the models to an intelligent device that could convert the examiner's subjective, tactual sensations into digital code to accurately measure and evaluate skills required for doctors and technicians to detect tumors.

The RightHand Solution
medical examination training device

The National Science Foundation (NSF) supported the development effort for the client's systems involving a laptop application and attached system of sensors. The laptop program guides trainees palpating fingers through specific exercises on a different breast models, guiding them to find tiny simulated tumors.

RightHand Technologies' contribution was the design, development, and manufacturing of the patented tactile sensor array that provides feedback to the laptop program. The sensor device digitally replicates and displays the sensations fingers experience while palpating breast tissue and detecting tumors, measuring and reporting every aspect of the examination performance.

The custom designed hardware circuit board collects the input from the sensor pad and prepares the data for the laptop application. The tactile transducers locate and register every palpation at 1024 levels of examination pressure in each square centimeter of breast tissue within 3mm of spatial resolution. The trainee is measured on pressure, coverage, and detection, and must meet performance standards in each module before advancing to the succeeding one.

The Results

Initial trials of the simulator at Mayo Clinic found significant gains in sensitivity (finding tumors that are present) and specificity (not finding tumors that are absent). The client and Mayo Clinic teams presented the first research report at an international breast cancer congress.