Human Vital Sign Determination using Tactile Sensing and Fuzzy Triage System

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The ability to quickly and accurately triage a person’s medical condition in an emergency situation or other critical scenarios could mean the difference between life and death. Endowing a robotic system with vision and tactile capabilities, similar to those of medical professionals, and thus enabling robots to assess a patient’s status in an emergency is a highly sought after characteristic in healthcare robotics. This paper presents a novel fuzzy triage system exploiting visual and tactile sensing, to equip a robot with the skills to accurately determine key vital signs in humans. There are three key signs of human health: respiratory rate, pulse rate (Beats Per Minute (BPM)) and capillary refill time. Using ground truth from a medical professional, the fuzzy triage system is trained and validated initially with informed synthetic data and then further evaluated using vital signs data collected from subjects in a pilot study. Results from this pilot study indicate that the fuzzy triage system is capable of classifying a patient’s health using the the novel approaches for collecting BPM,
Respiratory Rate (RR) and Capillary Refill Time (CRT) which replicate, to some extent, the approaches used by medical professionals for measuring vital signs. Furthermore, the intelligent system proved capable of determining whether a pulse was regular or arrhythmic, whether respiratory rate was regular or irregular, and determining the subject’s capillary refill time. Such results imply that this system could ultimately be used, for example, in a home assistance robot for elderly or disabled persons, or as a first responder robot. Ultimately the aim would be that these methods could be utilised by robotic systems in emergency scenarios or disaster zones.
Original languageEnglish
Article number114781
JournalExpert Systems with Applications
Early online date4 Mar 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 4 Mar 2021


  • Fuzzy Systems
  • Automated Triage
  • signal processing
  • Tactile Sensing
  • artificial intelligence (AI)
  • classification
  • Human Vital Sign Detection


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