Disease Detection Using Bio-robotics
Published on Nov 12, 2016
In order to measure quantitatively the neuro-psychomotor conditions of an individual with a view to subsequently detecting his/her state of health, it is necessary to obtain a set of parameters such as reaction time, speed, strength and tremor. By processing these parameters through the use of fuzzy logic it is possible to monitor an individual's state of health, .i.e. whether he/she is healthy or affected by a particular pathology such as Parkinson's disease, dementia, etc.
The set of parameters obtained is useful not only to diagnose neuro-motor pathologies (e.g. Parkinson Disease), but also to assess general everyday health or to monitor sports performance; moreover, continuous use of the device by an individual for health-monitoring purposes, not only allows for detection of the onset of a particular pathology but also provides greater awareness in terms of how life style or certain habits tend to have repercussions on psycho-physical well-being. Since an individual's state of health should be continually monitored, it is essential that he or she can manage the test autonomously without his/her emotional state being influenced: autonomous testing is important, as the individual is likely to be more relaxed thus obviating emotional problems. The new system has been designed with reference to the biomechanical characteristics of the human finger.
Disease detector (DDX) is a new bio robotic device that is a fuzzy based control system for the detection of neuro-motional and psychophysical health conditions. The initial experimental system (DD1) and the current system (DD2) are not easily portable and, even if they are very reliable, cannot estimate the patient health beyond the typical parameters of Parkinson's disease nor are they able to remotely transmit such diagnoses.
This new bio-robotic system is exploited in order to obtain an intelligent and reliable detector supported by a very small and portable device, with a simple joystick with few buttons, a liquid-display (LCD), and a simple interface for remote communication of diagnosis. It may be adopted for earth and space applications, because of its portability, in order to measure all the reactions in front of external effects.
The DDX control system consists of a small board with an internal fuzzy microcontroller that acquires, through the action on a button on the joystick, some important parameters: reaction time, motion speed, force of the finger on the button, and tremor and analyses them by fuzzy rules in order to detect the patient's disease class. Moreover this new device also includes a system to detect vocal reaction. The resulting output can be visualized through a display or transmitted by a communication interface.
Reaction time, speed, force, and tremor are parameters that are used to obtain a quantitative instrumental determination of a patient's neuro-psychophysical health. These parameters have been used in the study of the progression of Parkinson's disease, a particularly degenerative neural process, but these parameters can also be useful in detecting the wellness of a healthy person. As a matter of fact, these measurements turn out to be an excellent method of finding reactive parameters alteration due not only to a pathology, but also, for example, to the use of drugs, alcohol, drugs used in the treatment of mental conditions, or other substances that could affect a person's reactive and coordination capabilities.
THE NEW EXPERIMENTAL SYSTEM (DDX)
DDX is the new experimental bio-robotic system for the acquisition and restitution of human finger movement data. It is a bio-robotic system designed and constructed with medical and clinical data for the analysis of Parkinson’s disease. It was originally used for the analysis of neural disturbances with quantitative evaluation of both the response times and the dynamic action of the subject.
The system is characterized by a small dimension design; user friendly hardware and software means that even non- experts will be able to use this device. Now, it is applied not only in clinical activities, but also by healthy persons wishing to know, ”How am I this morning?” and by athletes in order to check their own physical performance. This is a portable system, involving multiple parameters such as reaction time, speed, strength and tremor which are processed by means of fuzzy logic. The resulting output can be visualized through a display or transmitted by a communication interface.
BLOCK DIAGRAM OF DDX
Figure is a block diagram that describes, from the functional point of view, the structure of the proposed system.
The block (1) is the press button. This is the input patient interface and its function is to capture indirectly three basic information for diagnosis: the response time, the speed and the pressure of the fingertip. Effectively, it captures the start time of button pressure, the end time and the force impressed by using a strain gauge. The analog force signal is first amplified in block (2), filtered and then converted in a 8-bit digital form by block (4). All these three information are collected from block (6) which is the heart of the system and directs the information flow among peripherals. Blocks (5,8) represents the medical operator interface to give commands and to read outputs. The block (6) manages all information and stores them in block (11) if it is necessary. Tremor is also caught up by a very cheap switch accelerometer called “Tremor Sensor”. The block (10) performs fuzzy rules on acquired data and return diagnosis results that will be output on display (5). The audio unit, composed by a simple buzzer, is used to synchronize the patient actions in relation to the kind of test.
Blocks A and B are , respectively ,a movement sensor that measures hand tremors and a vocal sensor; the two blocks interact with block 6 and apply parameters calculated using fuzzy logic.
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