The ongoing pandemic has encouraged researchers and developers to invent technologies that can minimise human-to-human contact. The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi and All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) New Delhi has developed a telerobotic ultrasound system that will allow remote ultrasound access through a robotic arm.
The Problem And The Solution
In the existing ultrasound process, the doctor stands close to the patients to record the images. However, during the COVID-19 pandemic, it became necessary to maintain social distance between the doctor and the patient. Given this situation, doctors have been using the "cross-sectional imaging" technique for an ultrasound which the researchers said is expensive and less dynamic, according to a press release.
Thus, the need for an alternative was raised. Professor Chetan Arora and Subir Kumar Saha from IIT Delhi said that the lockdown and social distancing norms impacted regular health care services, especially those involving direct physical contact with patients like ultrasound scanning. This technology is their effort to contribute to the safety of healthcare professionals.
The team stated that this new technology will promote healthcare and prepare it for pandemics in the future. More importantly, it will allow a better outreach of ultrasound imaging to remote rural areas in the country.
This technology will enable the doctor to stay at a remote location, visualise all the images, and assess the patient, similar to a clinical setting. The team hopes to extend the facility for global outreach soon.
"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," the team said.
The Collaborative Team
This technology is a collaborative effort by a research team consisting of professionals from IIT Delhi, AIIMS, New Delhi, and Addverb Technologies said a statement from IIT Delhi. The IIT Delhi team was led by Prof. Chetan Arora and Prof. Subir Kumar Saha, and the AIIMS team was led by Dr. Chandrashekhara while Suvayan Nandi was the lead contributor from Addverb Technologies.