We have some of the best medical professionals in the world, and we have some amazing technology in this country. However, we also have some of the greatest distances between major centres which means a lot of travel for some medial procedures. Deakin University in partnership with Telstra have today announced a robot that could bring us all closer to the health-care we need.
The revolutionary haptics-enabled robotics developed by Deakin University mean that a patient may no longer need to be in the same room – or even the same city as the monographer conducting the ultrasound.
HER (Haptically-enabled robotics) remote ultrasound technology was developed with funding and technical support from Telstra as part of their research partner program and means the ultrasound unit and the medical professional operating it can be as far apart as 1,000km.
Able to be applied to abdominal ultrasound imaging to evaluate a patients’ kidneys, liver, gallbladder, pancreas, spleen, the abdominal aorta and other blood vessels of the abdomen you’d have to see this as just the first step toward the digitally connected medical diagnostic centre of the future.
And it’s not all robotic and feedback free – there’s also patient feedback technology so the sonographer can remotely monitor patient discomfort related to the force being applied by the probe.
Kannan Alagappan, from Telstra said “Early stage testing has extended the trial beyond initial expectations by proving the technology on Telstra’s 4G wireless network. It’s now portable and expandable enough to cover more than 95% of Australia’s population,”
Deakin University clinician and Epworth Geelong Chair in Surgery, Professor Glenn Guest, said “In the future, a number of remote communities could be supplied with an ultrasound ‘robot’ for medical diagnosis requirements,”.
Deakin and Telstra have successfully tested the system using data links between Melbourne and several regional and rural locations in Australia.
Welcome to the future folks.