Echographic Examination in Emergency Tele-operated using a Robotic Arm. Application to Abdominal and Cardiovascular Pathology and Obstetrics

P. Arbeille, J. Ayoub, G. Poisson, M. Porcher, J.L. Boulay, V. Moreau, and P. Vieyres (France)


echography, emergency, robot,Telemedicine.I


As human will stay for long duration in isolated sites like ISS there will be a need to perform quick and reliable diagnosis to evaluate the gravity of the clinical symptoms. Many pathological situations (abnormal heart rate, cholecystis, renal lithiasis, phlebitis...) may occur even if all the astronauts are absolutly normal and healthy preflight. Ultrasound echography and Doppler are non invasive methods easy to use in space and very well adapted and used in routin for such diagnosis during clinical investigations at the hospital. The objective was to design a system which allows to control the echographic or Doppler examinations performed in an isolated place from an expert center. Three possibilities were evaluated: a) The operator in the isolated site is guided by vocal and video information in real time sent by the expert center. I the case of echography this system allows to identify the organ but not to find the appropriate incidence required for the diagnosis. b) A real time 3D system is available in the isolated site and the operator has just to collect the images in a volume that includes the organ to be investigated. The 3D systems are still under development and are expensive, energy consuming and larges. c) We designed a robotic arm fixed to the echographic probe and which reproduces exactly the movement of the hand of the medical doctor who guides the examination from the expert center. At the expert center the medical doctor moves the joystick of a computer (n°1) which simulates the echographic probe, the movement information are transferred by sattelite link to the ISS computer and the robot. A prototype have been build up by the institut of robotics (Bourges) and tested on 90 patients in our hospital (ISDN lines) and between main and secondary hospital and between a military hospital and a rescue ship of the navy (Satellite lines).

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