3-D Ultrasound Scanner Could Guide Robotic Surgeries
Developed by Pratt School engineers, the new scanner could find application in various medical settings, including aboard space stations
Monday, October 30, 2006
Durham, NC -- Duke University engineers have shown that a three-dimensional ultrasound scanner they developed can successfully guide a surgical robot.
The scanner could find application in various medical settings, according to the researchers. They said the scanner ultimately might enable surgeries to be performed without surgeons, a capability that could prove valuable in space stations or other remote locations.
"It's the first time, to our knowledge, that anyone has used the information in a 3-D ultrasound scan to actually guide a robot," said Stephen Smith, professor of biomedical engineering at Duke's Pratt School of Engineering.
Smith and Eric Pua, a Pratt graduate student who participated in the research, reported the findings in the cover article of the November 2006 issue of the journal IEEE Transactions on Ultrasonics, Ferroelectrics and Frequency Control. A copy of the article is available here.
The work was supported by the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation.
In their demonstration, the researchers used 3-D ultrasound images to pinpoint in real time the exact location of targets in a simulated surgical procedure. That spatial information then guided a robotically controlled surgical instrument right to its mark.