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MOBILE TELE-ECHOGRAPHY USING AN ULTRA-LIGHT ROBOT

Objective

The OTELO project proposes the study and development of a fully integrated end-to-end mobile tele-echography system for population groups that are either temporarily or permanently not served locally by medical experts. The main drawback of current ultrasound techniques is that the quality of the examination highly depends on the operator's specialised skills, which are lacking in most health centres. OTELO is a portable ultrasound probe holder robotic system, associated with new mobile communications technologies that will reproduce the expert's hand movements during an ultrasound examination. Although being manipulated by non-specialised staff on the remote site, the slave system will bring, in real time, good image quality back to the expert site where force feedback control will be combined with virtual reality for the rendering of the distant environment.

OBJECTIVES
OTELO project proposes the study and development of a fully integrated end-to-end mobile tele-echography system for population groups that are not served locally, either temporarily or permanently, by medical experts. OTELO project offers an alternative to medical centers that lack ultrasound specialists. It is a portable ultrasound probe holder robotic system, associated with new mobile communications technologies that will reproduce the expert's hand movements during an ultrasound examination. Although being manipulated by non-specialised staff on the remote site, the slave system will bring, in real time, good image quality back to the expert site where force feedback control will be combined with virtual reality for the rendering of the distant environment.

DESCRIPTION OF WORK
After characterisation of the clinical expert's hand movement, a 6 dof probe holder robot will be designed according to the clinical needs; it will include rotations and linear displacements. Kinematics, dynamics behaviours and control laws will be developed. Force feedback control for a bilateral tele-operation architecture will be defined. Technique of ultrasound images acquisition via frame grabbing will be developed. Images compression techniques will be tested. Two solutions will be proposed depending on the examination phase: fast compression method when expert researches for a specific organ and an accurate compression method (wavelet) during the pre-diagnosis phase. An audio-video conference system will be used for the environmental data transmission. The project foresees three scenarios for data transmission: terrestrial link (ISDN, GPRS..), a mobile communication system from the field of operation with an omni-directional antenna (the 56 Kbps rate will allow clinical data access or images transfer); A fixed dish terminal (up to 384 Kbps operation for full motion video). At the master station, located at the expert centre, an interface with the communication system and image sequences decoder will be developed to allow high quality visualisation of ultrasound images. This interface will integrate: ultrasound images sequences, a view of the examined area provided by a camera and an audio/video conference. A virtual reality environment associated with a fictive probe will be designed: current technologies will be investigated, the most suitable will be selected for the application. Three slave and masters stations will be made. The slave stations, located in secondary hospitals, will integrate the probe-holder robot, current technologies will be investigated, the most suitable will be selected for the application. They will be used for the technical and clinical validation of the OTELO project.

Funding Scheme

CSC - Cost-sharing contracts

Coordinator

UNIVERSITE D'ORLEANS
Address
Chateau De La Source
45067 Orleans
France

Participants (8)

CENTRE FOR RESEARCH AND TECHNOLOGY HELLAS
Greece
Address
6Th Km Charilaou-thermi Road
57001 Thermi-thessaloniki
CORPORACIO SANITARIA CLINIC
Spain
Address
Villarroel 170
08036 Barcelona
EBIT SANITA S.P.A.
Italy
Address
Via Siffredi Angelo 58
16153 Genova
ELSACOM S.P.A
Italy
Address
Via Puccini Giacomo 2
16154 Genova
KELL - S.R.L
Italy
Address
Via Plinio 22
00193 Roma
KINGSTON UNIVERSITY
United Kingdom
Address
River House, 53-57 High Street
KT1 1LQ Kingston Upon Thames
SINTERS SA
France
Address
Parc Technologique Basso Cambo - 5 Rue Paul Mesple
31100 Toulouse
UNIVERSITE FRANCOIS-RABELAIS
France
Address
3 Rue Des Tanneurs
37041 Tours Cedex 1