How does it work? A nurse or paramedic places the robotic arm with an ultrasound transducer attached to it on the patient’s abdomen.
At the same time, a sonographer tens or even hundreds of miles away teleoperates the probe using a joystick and performs a diagnosis on screen in real time.
Several versions of the robot have already demonstrated its capability and the concept’s feasibility. However, it still has to be validated in real-life operating conditions to evaluate its long-term potential.
“There’s a huge difference between a one-day technological demonstration and setting up a pre-operational service designed to run for several months, and this project is attempting to make that leap,” explains Didier Schmitt, ARTIS Project Manager at ESA.
Toward an operational service
“The bandwidth has to be sufficient to transmit ultrasound images in real time that are clear enough for doctors to interpret them,” explains Nathalie Ribeiro. “Our mission is also to verify that the service brings real medical benefits and cost savings for the hospital and the department of health and social security.”
Teleoperated scanners will be installed at pilot sites during the 1st quarter of 2009 the service will be tested throughout this year. If results are good, tele-echography could be deployed in smaller hospitals as well as remote villages in Africa or South America.
** Advanced Robotic Tele-echography Integrated Service
**European Space Agency : l'Agence spatiale européenne.
- Space for Health - On ESA Website.
Reportages diffusés dans le Journal de l'espace :
- De l'espace pour l'humanitaire - Déploiement opérationnel du conteneur Emergesat - décembre 2007.
- La centrifugeuse humaine - janvier 2008.
- Echographie à distance - mai 2008.
- ARTIS : la télé-échographie est-elle économiquement viable ? - actualité du 7 mars 2008.