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Haptic response system and method of use

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Haptic response system and method of use


An apparatus and method for assessing a hazard associated with an object are disclosed. The apparatus includes a haptic input/output device coupled to a computer with haptic modeling software and a display device. A virtual object and a virtual passageway are displayed on the display device. The virtual passageway includes a haptic layer along a surface thereof. Force applied by a user to the haptic input/output device causes a cursor on the display device to move the virtual object into the virtual passageway. An interaction of the virtual object with the haptic layer generates a virtual contact force which may be determined by the user sensing a corresponding tactile feedback force generated by the haptic input/output device and/or by the computer processor. The magnitude of the virtual contact force may be used to assess a hazard associated with the virtual object.

Browse recent Labtest International, Inc. D/b/a Intertek Consumer Goods North America patents - Oak Brook, IL, US
Inventors: Robert Altkorn, Xiao Chen, Scott Milkovich, John Owens, Brian William Rider, Eugene Rider, Daniel Stool
USPTO Applicaton #: #20120278711 - Class: 715701 (USPTO) - 11/01/12 - Class 715 
Data Processing: Presentation Processing Of Document, Operator Interface Processing, And Screen Saver Display Processing > Operator Interface (e.g., Graphical User Interface) >Force Feedback Interaction

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The Patent Description & Claims data below is from USPTO Patent Application 20120278711, Haptic response system and method of use.

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CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims priority to U.S. Provisional Application No. 10/941,088 which claims priority to U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/502,983 filed on Sep. 16, 2003, which are incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The invention relates to hazard assessment simulators, and more particularly to a haptic response system and method of use which enables a user to assess a hazard, such as a choking, aspiration, or blockage hazard, in humans caused by an inanimate object.

DESCRIPTION OF RELATED ART

Haptic, or force feedback, technology includes hardware and associated software that allows a user to physically feel objects existing in a virtual (e.g., computational) environment. Haptic hardware integrates force sensors and motors or actuators and is often shaped to simulate specific tools, such as surgical devices or sculpting tools. In haptic technology, haptic hardware replaces conventional tactile computer input devices such as a mouse, trackball, or keyboard. The force sensors measure a magnitude and direction of forces applied by a user and input these measurements to a computer. Software installed on the computer converts the inputted measurements into movement of one or more virtual objects that are displayed on a display device, calculates one or more interactions between objects, and outputs the interactions as computer signals. The motors or actuators in each input/output device resist forces applied by a user, or apply forces to the user, pursuant to the signals received from the computer.

Various haptic hardware devices have been developed. Illustratively, known haptic hardware devices include a MagLev Wrist developed by Carnegie Mellon University, an Eye Surgery Simulator developed by Georgia Tech University, a Laparoscopic Impulse Engine developed by Immersion Corporation, and a Cybergrasp Force Feedback Glove developed by Virtual Technologies, Inc.

Haptic technologies have been applied to various disciplines, including the training of surgeons in minimally invasive surgery or other medical procedures. Specific medical procedures for which haptic technologies have been developed include, for example, bronchoscopy, urinary tract endoscopy, epidural injections, cardiovascular surgery, and gynecology. These technologies are specifically designed to mimic the interaction between a surgical instrument and a part of the human body. However, currently, such haptic systems may not accurately model the forces experienced during the actual surgery or performance of a medical procedure for various reasons, the foremost being the inaccurate modeling techniques. For example, these known haptic models do not account for variations in the size, shape, and elasticity over different population groups. Thus, the modeling is generally a “gross” calculation of a particular body part and interactions with a surgical tool, without taking into account variables that may exist between persons.

Additionally, the known haptic surgical simulators do not provide body parts that are dimensionally sized and imbued with specific material properties unique to persons within a particular age group. Consequently, such simulators cannot generate anatomically correct models of parts of the human body that are statistically representative of a particular sector of the population.

Moreover, surgical haptic response simulators are generally modeled to show an interaction strictly with a surgical tool and a body part. Such interaction is very limited to the human manipulation of a surgical instrument (e.g., cutting and moving), ranging from incisions in the skin to removal of body parts such as a spleen, cataracts, etc. These systems do not model objects which have no human interaction such as, for example, objects which were accidentally swallowed. Additionally, these simulators are primarily concerned with modeling the treatment and repair of body parts, not with determining how inanimate objects interact with the human body in way that creates an injury hazard, such as causing a blockage with a passageway located within the body.

Other haptic applications include virtual assembly path planning and virtual maintenance path planning. Virtual assembly path planning haptic technologies permit users to manipulate or simulate tools and components within a virtual environment to verify that an assembly process may be successfully completed. Similarly, virtual maintenance path planning technologies permit users to manipulate tools and components within a virtual environment to confirm that a broken component may be removed and replaced by a working component. Consequently, the haptic training systems used in virtual assembly path planning and virtual maintenance path planning simulate mechanical systems that exist outside the human body. As such, they are not concerned with, nor configured to show interactions with a part of the human body.

SUMMARY

OF THE INVENTION

In one embodiment, the invention provides a virtual haptic response system and method of use that enable a user to assess a choking, ingestion, blocking, insertion, aspiration, or any other physical hazard in humans caused by an inanimate object. As an example, the virtual haptic response system and method of use enables assessment of a hazard associated with an insertion of a manufactured, or yet to be manufactured, object into a human passageway. Illustratively, the object may be a toy or other articles intended for use by children, as well as other consumer products intended for use by teenagers and adults. The hazards may be assessed using an anatomically correct, virtual model of a passageway, such as, but not limited to a nasal pharynx, an oral cavity, an oral pharynx, a trachea, a hypo-pharynx, and an esophagus, and accurate, realistic tactile force feedback generated by a haptic input/output device. Additionally, the virtual model of the passageway may be dimensionally sized and imbued with specific material properties unique to persons within a particular age group. Consequently, the dimensions and material properties modeled by the virtual model of the passageway may statistically represent a particular sector of the population.

Thus, an embodiment of the invention is directed to a virtual computer model, tangibly embodied in computer executable instructions, which simulates on a display device a virtual object modeled after a particular real object, a virtual passageway modeled after a particular real human passageway, and an interaction between them. An interaction occurs when the virtual object and the virtual passageway are positioned proximate to or in contact with each other. Intensities of a force or forces generated by the interaction may be calculated and analyzed to determine whether the virtual object poses a hazard to the virtual passageway. Once calculated, the values of the generated force or forces may be processed so that one or more areas of the virtual object and/or the virtual passageway visibly deform and/or turn a non-anatomical color in response thereto.

In one embodiment, one or more forces generated by the interaction are output as computer signals to an input/output device manipulated by a user. In response, one or more actuators within the input/output device generate one or more feedback forces that simulate an intensity level of one or more real forces that would be exerted if an interaction occurred between the real object and the real passageway. The force feedback enables the user to determine whether the virtual object is capable of traversing the virtual passageway, and if not, where in the virtual passageway the virtual object is likely to lodge. The intensity of one or more calculated forces may be displayed on the display device by color variations and/or alphanumeric data.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1A is a cut-away, profile view of a virtual human head showing placement of a virtual object within a virtual airway, according to one embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 1B is a perspective view of an apparatus useable with an embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 2 is a screenshot of magnetic resonance images (MRI) used in embodiments of the invention to create the virtual human body part shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 3A is a screenshot illustrating a three-dimensional, frontal view of a human skull constructed using data and measurements obtained from the magnetic resonance images of FIG. 2, according to one embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 3B is a cut-away profile view of a human head illustrating construction of reference layers, according to one embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 3C is a screenshot illustrating a three-dimensional, frontal view of a child\'s head with left and right side skin layers, according to one embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 4 is a screenshot illustrating four representative views of a model of a hypopharnyx that may define an airspace used in the haptic modeling system, according to one embodiment of the invention;



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Graphical user interface, system and method for managing contacts within an online stationery system
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Data processing: presentation processing of document
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stats Patent Info
Application #
US 20120278711 A1
Publish Date
11/01/2012
Document #
13540210
File Date
07/02/2012
USPTO Class
715701
Other USPTO Classes
International Class
06F3/048
Drawings
13



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