The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi and the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi has recently developed a telerobotic ultrasound system.
In this story, we tell you all you need to know about the technology, the scientists involved, and how the new technology can prove to be a boon for people, especially during the Covid-times.
Can ultrasound imaging be done from a remote location? Not many of us would have given a thought to this seemingly bizarre question! But, researchers and scientists from the prestigious IIT Delhi, AIIMS, New Delhi, and a global robotics company in India named the Addverb co. have actually made it possible.
In a conventional ultrasound setting, the physician (Radiologist) stands in close proximity of the affected person for a significant length of time.
However, with the inexplicable turn of events caused as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, most of humanity’s conventional practices received a jolt. Thus, the need was felt for novel and path-breaking inventions to cater to dynamic problems.
Further, Prof. Chetan Arora and Prof. Subir Kumar Saha from IIT Delhi said, “This requirement came to us from the faculty of AIIMS New Delhi, when the whole nation had been put on lockdown in June 2020, and the number of cases and deaths was rising rapidly. The prevailing situation impacted regular health care services, especially those involving direct physical contact with patients like ultrasound scanning. We wanted to contribute to the safety of healthcare professionals by leveraging our expertise in robotic technology.”
*About the technology*
A telerobotic ultrasound system enables remote ultrasound access through a robotic arm.
To further explain, telerobotics is a field of robotics concerned with the control of semi-autonomous robots from a distance. It is a combination of two major subfields, i.e., teleoperation and telepresence; chiefly using Wireless networks (like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, the Deep Space Network), or other tethered connections.
The research team at IIT Delhi was led by Prof. Chetan Arora and Prof. Subir Kumar Saha, while Dr. Chandrashekhara was responsible for AIIMS and Suvayan Nandi was the lead contributor from Addverb Technologies.
The other research team members include Deepak Raina (PMRF Research Scholar, IIT Delhi); Dr. Krithika Rangarajan, Dr. Ayushi Agarwal, (AIIMS, New Delhi); and Hardeep Singh (Addverb).
*How it’ll help people during Covid-19*?
“This system will promote healthcare and make our system more prepared for further pandemics. Besides its role in the pandemic, it will allow a better outreach of ultrasound imaging to remote rural areas of India,” said, Dr. Chandrashekhara, AIIMS, New Delhi.
The radiologist manipulates the ultrasound probe remotely from a remote location, acquires the ultrasonographs, and then transmits them to the monitors at the doctor’s end through a Wi-Fi network. Sitting at a remote location, the doctor can visualize all the images and assess the patient, similar to a clinical setting. The facility can also be extended for global outreach.”
Speaking about the jointly developed Telerobotic Ultrasound System, Mr. Deepak Raina said that control architecture had been developed to teleoperate the ultrasound probe attached to the robotic arm while ensuring the patient’s safety and the quality of ultrasound images.
Mr. Suvayan Nandi at Addverb said that telerobotics is an emerging area in medicine and the adoption of this technology will pave the way for Addverb to contribute to the upcoming revolution of medical robotics in India.