Touchable Computing: Computing-Inspired Bio-Detection

Yifan CHEN, Shaolong SHI, Xin YAO, Tadashi NAKANO

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


We propose a new computing-inspired bio-detection framework called touchable computing (TouchComp). Under the rubric of TouchComp, the best solution is the cancer to be detected, the parameter space is the tissue region at high risk of malignancy, and the agents are the nanorobots loaded with contrast medium molecules for tracking purpose. Subsequently, the cancer detection procedure (CDP) can be interpreted from the computational optimization perspective: a population of externally steerable agents (i.e., nanorobots) locate the optimal solution (i.e., cancer) by moving through the parameter space (i.e., tissue under screening), whose landscape (i.e., a prescribed feature of tissue environment) may be altered by these agents but the location of the best solution remains unchanged. One can then infer the landscape by observing the movement of agents by applying the 'seeing-is-sensing' principle. The term 'touchable' emphasizes the framework's similarity to controlling by touching the screen with a finger, where the external field for controlling and tracking acts as the finger. Given this analogy, we aim to answer the following profound question: can we look to the fertile field of computational optimization algorithms for solutions to achieve effective cancer detection that are fast, accurate, and robust? Along this line of thought, we consider the classical particle swarm optimization (PSO) as an example and propose the PSO-inspired CDP, which differs from the standard PSO by taking into account realistic in vivo propagation and controlling of nanorobots. Finally, we present comprehensive numerical examples to demonstrate the effectiveness of the PSO-inspired CDP for different blood flow velocity profiles caused by tumor-induced angiogenesis. The proposed TouchComp bio-detection framework may be regarded as one form of natural computing that employs natural materials to compute. © 2002-2011 IEEE.
Original languageEnglish
Article number8094293
Pages (from-to)810-821
Number of pages12
JournalIEEE Transactions on Nanobioscience
Issue number8
Early online date2 Nov 2017
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2017
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

This work was supported in part by the Guangdong Natural Science Funds under Grant S2013050014223 and Grant 2016A030313640, in part by the Shenzhen Development and Reform Commission Funds under Grant [2015]944, and Grant [2015]1939, and in part by the Shenzhen Science, Technology and Innovation Commission Funds under Grant KQCX2015033110182368, Grant JCYJ20160301113918121, and Grant JSGG20160427105120572.


  • computing-inspired bio-detection
  • contrast-enhanced medical imaging
  • metaheuristics
  • nanorobots
  • natural computing
  • Touchable computing


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