Enabling Technologies for Robot Assisted Ultrasound Tomography
Ultrasound (US) tomography enables creation of US images through tomographic reconstruction. Currently available US tomography systems suggest utilizing cylindrical transducers that can be used for a specific organ such as the breast. In this paper, our focus is on an alternative way of creating US tomographic images that could be used for other anatomies and more general applications. Such system consists of two conventional US probes facing each other while one or several of the transducers in one probe can act as the transmitter and the rest as the receiver. However, aligning the two US probes is a challenging task. To address this issue, we propose the robot assisted US tomography system in which one probe is operated as freehand and the other one is operated by a robotic arm making possible automatic alignment of the two probes. In this paper, the enabling technologies for such system are described. With the current prototype, a reconstruction precision of 4.12, 1.73, and 2.23 mm for the three calibrations, and an overall alignment repeatability in the range of 5-9 mm are achieved; which indicate feasibility of appropriate alignment in such system by utilizing robot assistance.