Testing the Skin Interrogation Device
Alexander, John D.
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The purpose of this project was to perform a series of bench tests to evaluate particular aspects the Skin Interrogation Device (SID), a prototype instrument designed to measure the in-vivo mechanical properties of human skin. Among its many potential uses, the device may help to detect and monitor debilitating diseases and assess the effectiveness of therapeutic interventions. (Objectives) A paucity of research has been conducted to assess the prototype's actual ability to measure mechanical properties. Therefore, this became a major objective of the current project, with two specific aims: (1) evaluate the prototype's ability to differentiate a range of materials, and (2) define the relationship between the prototype's output and known properties of the tested materials. (Methods) 12 different commercially available prosthetic liners were used as test materials, the properties of which have been reported in detail by Sanders et al, 2004. Each liner was tested under tightly controlled conditions using the SID and a bench-top positioning device. (Results) A one-way ANOVA and subsequent Tukey posthoc tests revealed that the SID prototype was able to successfully differentiate 55 of 66 (83%) pairs of liner comparisons (a = 0.05). Linear regression analysis for the relationship between the device output and the liners' reported shear modulus properties yielded an R value of 0.834. (Conclusions) First, changes in the measurements from the prototype SID do indeed appear to reflect actual changes in the stiffness properties of tested materials. Second, the prototype does indeed seem capable of differentiating materials that have differences in these stiffness properties. (Future Work) In the future, tests of physical models with incremental property variations will help further the understanding of the device's sensitivity to changes in human skin. Also, human subject trials will further validate the device's utility in the clinical setting.