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Design and Implementation of a Bespoke Robotic Manipulator for Extra-corporeal Ultrasound

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere58811
JournalJournal of Visualized Experiments
Issue number143
Accepted/In press10 Oct 2018
Published7 Jan 2019


King's Authors


With the potential for high precision, dexterity, and repeatability, a self-tracked robotic system can be employed to assist the acquisition of real-time ultrasound. However, limited numbers of robots designed for extra-corporeal ultrasound have been successfully translated into clinical use. In this study, we aim to build a bespoke robotic manipulator for extra-corporeal ultrasound examination, which is lightweight and has a small footprint. The robot is formed by five specially shaped links and custom-made joint mechanisms for probe manipulation, to cover the necessary range of motion with redundant degrees of freedom to ensure the patient's safety. The mechanical safety is emphasized with a clutch mechanism, to limit the force applied to patients. As a result of the design, the total weight of the manipulator is less than 2 kg and the length of the manipulator is about 25 cm. The design has been implemented, and simulation, phantom, and volunteer studies have been performed, to validate the range of motion, the ability to make fine adjustments, mechanical reliability, and the safe operation of the clutch. This paper details the design and implementation of the bespoke robotic ultrasound manipulator, with the design and assembly methods illustrated. Testing results to demonstrate the design features and clinical experience of using the system are presented. It is concluded that the current proposed robotic manipulator meets the requirements as a bespoke system for extra-corporeal ultrasound examination and has great potential to be translated into clinical use.

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