ROPCA Ultrasound (2017-2020)

The vision of ROPCA Ultrasound (RU) is to create an automatized medical ultrasound examination and interpretation robot which can reduce the cost of ultrasound diagnostic and make it more available for patients. The Danish hospitals are experiencing increasing pressure on financial and resource in addition to increased expectations for quality of care and efficient operation.  RU will demonstrate how to use a robotic platform in the diagnostics and evaluation of Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) and Deep vein thrombosis (DVT). The platform will ensure systematic and uniform method to perform ultrasound scans, thereby ensuring physicians the best possible starting point for the determination of treatment. Such systematic scanning is not possible today due to inaccuracy in human performance. RU will address scanning of the patient by a new approach in medical automation. 

RU builds on the results from the ROPCA project funded by Energi Fyn. Figure 1 shows the ROPCA platform with an ultrasound probe attached to an UR5 robot (Read more). The outcome of ROPCA Ultrasound(2017-2020) will be a robotic platform for automatic scanning of RA and DVT patients.

 Figure 1 : RU platform developed using EnergiFyn funding. The ROPCA platform with an ultra sound probe attached to an UR5 robot.

Until now motion of the robots used in medical automation in the healthcare sector has been controlled by teleoperation, e.g. da Vinci Surgical System where every motion of the robot is controlled by the operator or it has been based on traditional robot control, e.g. Cyberknife where the robot moves based on sensor input. We will use Programming by Demonstration (PbD) to program the scanning motion of the robot. By using PbD to encode the scanning motion of the ultrasound probe RU will be able to transfer the scanning skills from the highly trained medical doctors to the automatic solution. In this way RU will have the natural motion of the human operator and in  the same time be fully automated.

Interdisciplinary research and collaboration are vital to identify and implement an alternative course of therapy, which can ease the pressure on our hospitals and increase the quality of the treatment. RU will combine the medical knowledge of the clinicians from Odense University Hospital (OUH) and the technical solutions from the engineers from Maersk Mc-Kinney Moller Institute (MMMI).  

The ROPCA Ultrasound project is funded by SDU Lighthouse (Strategic focus area - Welfare Innovation) and SDU Robotics.


Professor Thiusius Rajeeth Savarimuthu

Project Partners:

University of Southern Denmark, Denmark; Odense University Hospital, Denmark; Institute of Medical Technology, Denmark;  Enabled Robotics ApS, Denmark.