BackgroundThere exists a growing need for a cost-effective, reliable, and portable pulsation simulator that can generate a wide variety of pulses depending on age and cardiovascular disease. For constructing compact pulsation simulator, this study proposes to use a pneumatic actuator based on cam-follower mechanism controlled by a DC motor. The simulator is intended to generate pulse waveforms for a range of pulse pressures and heart beats that are realistic to human blood pulsations.MethodsThis study first performed in vivo testing of a healthy young man to collect his pulse waveforms using a robotic tonometry system (RTS). Based on the collected data a representative human radial pulse waveform is obtained by conducting a mathematical analysis. This standard pulse waveform is then used to design the cam profile. Upon fabrication of the cam, the pulsatile simulator, consisting of the pulse pressure generating component, pressure and heart rate adjusting units, and the real-time pulse display, is constructed. Using the RTS, a series of testing was performed on the prototype to collect its pulse waveforms by varying the pressure levels and heart rates. Followed by the testing, the pulse waveforms generated by the prototype are compared with the representative, in vivo, pulse waveform.ResultsThe radial Augmentation Index analysis results show that the percent error between the simulator data and human pulse profiles is sufficiently small, indicating that the first two peak pressures agree well. Moreover, the phase analysis results show that the phase delay errors between the pulse waveforms of the prototype and the representative waveform are adequately small, confirming that the prototype simulator is capable of simulating realistic human pulse waveforms.ConclusionsThis study demonstrated that a very accurate radial pressure waveform can be reproduced using the cam-based simulator. It can be concluded that the same testing and design methods can be used to generate pulse waveforms for other age groups or any target pulse waveforms. Such a simulator can make a contribution to the research efforts, such as development of wearable pressure sensors, standardization of pulse diagnosis in oriental medicine, and training medical professionals for pulse diagnosis techniques.