A portable instrumentation rig is presented for characterizing nonlinear viscoelastic anisotropic response of intra-abdominal organ-tissues. Two linearly independent in-situ experiments are performed at each indentation site on the intra-abdominal organ, by subjecting the organ to 1) normal and 2) tangential displacement stimuli using the above robotic device. For normal indentation experiments, the indenter is ramped into the tissue and held for 10 seconds before sinusoidal indentation stimuli are applied. For tangential (shear) loading, the indenter tip is rigidly glued to the soft tissue surface. Sinusoidal displacement stimuli are then applied laterally in the tangential plane and the force response is recorded. Tangential loading is repeated along orthogonal directions to measure in-plane mechanical properties. Combined analysis of both experiments leads to assessment of anisotropy. In situ experiments on fresh human cadavers are currently under way at the Albany Medical College.
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