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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2013, Article ID 938641, 9 pages
Research Article

New Assessment Model of Pulse Depth Based on Sensor Displacement in Pulse Diagnostic Devices

Biomedical Engineering Research Division, Korea Institute of Oriental Medicine, Daejeon 305-811, Republic of Korea

Received 30 April 2013; Revised 12 August 2013; Accepted 26 August 2013

Academic Editor: Marco Leonti

Copyright © 2013 Jang-Han Bae et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


An accurate assessment of the pulse depth in pulse diagnosis is vital to determine the floating and sunken pulse qualities (PQs), which are two of the four most basic PQs. In this work, we proposed a novel model of assessing the pulse depth based on sensor displacement (SD) normal to the skin surface and compared this model with two previous models which assessed the pulse depth using contact pressure (CP). In contrast to conventional stepwise CP variation tonometry, we applied a continuously evolving tonometric mechanism at a constant velocity and defined the pulse depth index as the optimal SD where the largest pulse amplitude was observed. By calculating the pulse depth index for 18 volunteers, we showed that the pulse was deepest at Cheok (significance level: ), while no significant difference was found between Chon and Gwan. In contrast, the two CP-based models estimated that the pulse was shallowest at Gwan . For the repeated measures, the new SD-based model showed a smaller coefficient of variation than the two CP-based models (% and 12.3%, resp.). The SD-based pulse depth assessment is not sensitive to the complex geometry around the palpation locations and temperature variation of contact sensors, which allows cost-effective sensor technology.