During a discussion with a few colleagues recently, the topic of robotic ultrasound robots that can perform scans for us came up and for most this seemed a dream, however this could soon become reality, especially with the recent robotic ultrasound system which is able to perform remote operations with the help of specialists. ESA is testing the device, which is held against the patient. The ultrasound expert can then move the probe as if present in the examination room, rather than thousands of miles away.
The device is controlled in real time with a joystick, which moves the robotic probe-holder through yaw, pitch and roll as well as having the ability to modify the probes pressure on the patients body. The controller can view the scan and control the system from anywhere in the World as the system includes integrated videoconferencing option with remote-controllable webcam.
"The guiding principle behind telemedicine is that it is more convenient - and often much less costly - to move knowledge around than people," said Arnaud Runge, a biomedical engineer overseeing the Advanced Robotised Tele-echography Integrated Service (ARTIS) project for ESA.
"Remote access can be vital for astronaut medical emergencies, and the system was originally developed for Earth-based space mission simulations, such as the remote Concordia base in Antarctica. But ARTIS can also benefit a very broad community of terrestrial users, improving access to healthcare for people in underserved or isolated areas."
This end-to-end tele-ultrasound service has undergone a series of field trials by healthcare professionals in a variety of configurations, including the use of satellite communications.
"This brings in a couple of seconds delay but ultrasound professionals have adapted well in practice," Runge explained.
So if you have fantasized of working from home or performing your scans whilst sun bathing in the Bahamas, this could be a dream come true but for others it begs the question, one day could we all be made redundant by robots who are capable of not only performing scans but also diagnosing from them too?
Source : ANI