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A tactile sensing system (TSS), consisting of a sensing device and a data acquisition system, is described for measuring finger tip-applied forces. The system consists of four commercially-available tactile sensors, each mounted on a flexible matrix a clinician can wear with minimal interference, as well as a modified data acquisition system. The authors report on using the TSS to measure clinician-applied forces during vaginal delivery of newborns, with particular emphasis on an obstetric emergency called shoulder dystocia. In 24 randomly-selected deliveries using the TSS, subjective classifications of delivery type made blindly by the clinician corresponded well with the average force, peak force, and impulse demarcations in the study. Preliminary results suggest that birth injury may be time-dependent; as a result, viscoelastic effects may need to be incorporated in any situation model.
Date of Publication: Dec. 1988