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Towards Standardized Acquisition with a Dual-probe Ultrasound Robot for Fetal Imaging

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Richard James Housden, Shuangyi Wang, Xianqiang Bao, Jia Zheng, Emily Skelton, Jackeline Matthew, Yohan Noh, Olla Eltiraifi, Anisha Singh, Davinder Singh, Kawal Rhode

Original languageEnglish
Article number9343730
Pages (from-to)1059-1065
Number of pages7
JournalIEEE Robotics and Automation Letters
Issue number2
Accepted/In press2021
PublishedApr 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information: Manuscript received October 14, 2020; accepted January 12, 2021. Date of publication February 1, 2021; date of current version February 16, 2021. This letter was recommended for publication by Associate Editor B. S. Terry and Editor P. Valdastri upon evaluation of the reviewers’ comments. This work was supported in part by the Wellcome Trust IEH Award (102431), in part by the Wellcome/EPSRC Centre for Medical Engineering (WT203148/Z/16/Z), and in part by the National Natural Science Foundation of China under Grant 62003339. (James Housden and Shuangyi Wang are co-first authors.) (Corresponding author: Shuangyi Wang.) James Housden, Xianqiang Bao, Emily Skelton, Jacqueline Matthew, Olla Eltiraifi, and Kawal Rhode are with the School of Biomedical Engineering and Imaging Sciences, King’s College London, London SE1 7EH, U.K. (e-mail:;;;; olla.eltiraifi@kcl.; Publisher Copyright: © 2016 IEEE. Copyright: Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

King's Authors


Standardized acquisitions and diagnoses using robots and AI would potentially increase the general usability and reliability of medical ultrasound. Working towards this prospect, this letter presents the recent developments of a standardized acquisition workflow using a novel dual-probe ultrasound robot, for a project known as intelligent Fetal Imaging and Diagnosis (iFIND). The workflow includes an abdominal surface mapping step to obtain a non-parametric spline surface, a rule-based end-point calculation method to position each individual joint, and a motor synchronization method to achieve a smooth motion towards a target point. The design and implementation of the robot are first presented in this letter and the proposed workflow is then explained in detail with simulation and volunteer experiments performed and analyzed. The closed-form analytical solution to the specific motion planning problem has demonstrated a reliable performance controlling the robot to move towards the expected scanning areas and the calculated proximity of the robot to the surface shows that the robot maintains a safe distance while moving around the abdomen. The volunteer study has successfully demonstrated the reliable working and controllability of the robot in terms of acquiring desired ultrasound views. Our future work will focus on improving the motion planning, and on integrating the proposed standardized acquisition workflow with newly-developed ultrasound image processing methods to obtain diagnostic results in an accurate and consistent way.

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