Liang He

Liang He
University of Oxford | OX · Department of Engineering Science

BSc; MSc; PhD

About

21
Publications
2,091
Reads
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70
Citations
Introduction
Liang He is a researcher in soft robotics with the Oxford Robotics Institute, University of Oxford. His work focuses on active soft sensing and using the inherited physical reservoir for assisted computation. He is also interested in novel soft actuator/sensor design, fabrication, control, and modeling. With a robotic approach builds on those technologies, he aims to understand human behavior in haptic exploration and develop frameworks to support medical training.
Additional affiliations
October 2017 - February 2021
Imperial College London
Position
  • PhD Student
Description
  • His Ph.D. research focuses on developing a novel soft robotic human phantom (RobotPatient) and using the phantom to support medical palpation training. The phantom could dynamically simulate various physiological and pathological conditions while reinforcing the human-learning process with a robot-assisted approach. Since 2019 November, Liang has been working on the EPSRC RoboPatient project. Liang also worked on the EPSRC MOTION project from 2017 to 2019.
Education
October 2017 - February 2021
Imperial College London
Field of study
  • Robotics

Publications

Publications (21)
Article
Tissue examination by hand remains an essential technique in clinical practice. The effective application depends on skills in sensorimotor coordination, mainly involving haptic, visual, and auditory feedback. The skills clinicians have to learn can be as subtle as regulating finger pressure with breathing, choosing palpation action, monitoring inv...
Article
Humans rely on distributed tactile sensing in their hands to achieve robust and dexterous manipulation of delicate objects. Soft robotic hands have received increased attention in recent years due to their adaptability to unknown objects and safe interactions with the environment. However, the integration of distributed sensing in soft robotic hand...
Article
Full-text available
The stiffness of a soft robot with structural cavities can be regulated by controlling the pressure of a fluid to render predictable changes in mechanical properties. When the soft robot interacts with the environment, the mediating fluid can also be considered an inherent information pathway for sensing. This approach to using structural tuning to...
Chapter
A multi-material 3D printed soft actuator is presented that uses symmetrical, parallel chambers to achieve bi-directional variable stiffness. Many recent soft robotic solutions involve multi-stage fabrication, provide variable stiffness in only one direction or lack a means of reliably controlling the actuator stiffness. The use of multi-material 3...
Article
Although research studies in pneumatic soft robots develop rapidly, most pneumatic actuators are still controlled by rigid valves and conventional electronics. The existence of these rigid, electronic components sacrifices the compliance and adaptability of soft robots. Current electronics-free valve designs based on soft materials are facing chall...
Preprint
Full-text available
Although research studies in pneumatic soft robots develop rapidly, most pneumatic actuators are still controlled by rigid valves and conventional electronics. The existence of these rigid, electronic components sacrifices the compliance and adaptability of soft robots.} Current electronics-free valve designs based on soft materials are facing chal...
Article
Medical palpation is a diagnostic technique in which physicians use the sense of touch to manipulate the soft human tissue. This can be done to enable the diagnosis of possibly life-threatening conditions, such as cancer. Palpation is still poorly understood because of the complex interaction dynamics between the practitioners' hands and the soft h...
Conference Paper
A patient would contract surface muscles as a reaction called muscle guarding when experiencing discomfort and pain during physical palpation. This reaction carries important information about an affected location. Training physicians to regulate palpation forces to elicit just enough muscle guarding is a challenge using real patients. Tunable stif...
Article
Physicians use pain expressions shown in a patient's face to regulate their palpation methods during physical examination. Training to interpret patients' facial expressions with different genders and ethnicities still remains a challenge, taking novices a long time to learn through experience. This paper presents MorphFace: a controllable 3D physi...
Article
Soft continuum robots require differential control of channel pressure across several modules to trace 3D trajectories at the tip. For current designs of such actuators, sheathing is required to prevent radial expansion when the chambers are pressurized. With the recent development of soft materials additive manufacturing, 3D printing has become a...
Article
Robotic phantoms enable advanced physical examination training before using human patients. In this article, we present an abdominal phantom for palpation training with controllable stiffness liver nodules that can also sense palpation forces. The coupled sensing and actuation approach is achieved by pneumatic control of positive-granular jammed no...
Article
Full-text available
This paper provides a solution for fast haptic information gain during soft tissue palpation using a Variable Lever Mechanism (VLM) probe. More specifically, we investigate the impact of stiffness variation of the probe to condition likelihood functions of the kinesthetic force and tactile sensors measurements during a palpation task for two sweepi...
Article
Full-text available
Soft fingertips have shown significant adaptability for grasping a wide range of object shapes thanks to elasticity. This ability can be enhanced to grasp soft, delicate objects by adding touch sensing. However, in these cases, the complete restraint and robustness of the grasps have proved to be challenging, as the exertion of additional forces on...
Article
Side effects caused by excessive contact pressure such as discomfort and pressure sores are commonly complained by patients wearing orthoses. These problems leading to low patient compliance decrease the effectiveness of the device. To mitigate side effects, this study describes the design and fabrication of a soft sensor skin with strategically pl...
Article
Full-text available
Recent technological advances in robotic sensing and actuation methods have prompted development of a range of new medical training simulators with multiple feedback modalities. Learning to interpret facial expressions of a patient during medical examinations or procedures has been one of the key focus areas in medical training. This article review...
Poster
Full-text available
Presentation of a robotic variable stiffness palpation probe for medical palpation and a soft robotic patient simulator for abdominal palpation.
Conference Paper
Medical manikins play an essential role in the training process of physicians. Currently, most available simu-lators for abdominal palpation training do not contain control-lable organs for dynamic simulations. In this paper, we present a soft robotics controllable liver that can simulate various liver diseases and symptoms for effective and realis...

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Projects

Project (1)
Project
Living beings share the same embodiment for sensing and action. For instance, the spindle sensors that provide the feeling of a joint angle and speed are embedded on the muscles that actuate this joint. The tendon sensors that provide the feeling of force too are directly involved in actuation of the joint. Do the function of these sensors change when the muscles are activated to take action? Does the co-activation of antagonistic muscles play a role not only in actuation, but also in perception? This project will investigate these questions through targeted experiments with human participants and controllable stiffness soft robots that provide greater access to internal variables. Recent experiments we have conducted on localising hard nodules in soft tissues using soft robotic probes have shown that tuning the stiffness of the probe can maximise information gain of perceiving the hard nodule. We have also noticed that human participants use distinct force-velocity modulation strategies in the same task of localising a hard nodule in a soft tissue using the index finger. This raises the question as to whether we can find quantitative criteria to control the internal impedance of a soft robotic probe to maximise the efficacy of manipulating a soft object to perceive its hidden properties like in physical examination of a patient's abdomen. In this project, we will thus use carefully designed probing tasks done by both human participants and a soft robotic probe with controllable stiffness to access various levels of measurable information such as muscle co-contraction, change of speed and force, to test several hypotheses about the role of internal impedance in perception and action. Finally, we will use a human-robot collaborative physical examination task to test the effectiveness of a new soft robotic probe with controllable stiffness together with its stiffness and behaviour control algorithms. We will design and fabricate the novel soft robotic probe so that we can control the stiffness of its soft tissue in which sensors will be embedded to obtain embodied haptic perception. We will also design and fabricate a novel soft abdomen phantom with controllable stiffness internal organs to conduct palpation experiments. The innovation process of the above two designs - the novel probe and the abdomen phantom - will be done in collaboration with three leading industrial partners in the respective areas. The new insights will make a paradigm shift in the way we design soft robots that can share the controllable stiffness embodiment for both perception and action in a number of applications like remote medical interventions, robotic proxies in shopping, disaster response, games, museums, security screening, and manufacturing.