WP7 Interfaces development
The objectives of this WP concern with the development of the hardware interfaces to be embedded in the final platform in order to integrate all the components. The first aim will be to develop a dedicated physical interface to allow safe and precise coupling between robot and patient skin in the desired position. A dedicated coupler will be developed in order to interface the Focused Ultrasound Surgery (FUS) transducer with the patient; this should be compliant and adaptive to the patient’s body and, furthermore it should ensure acoustical coupling in order to allow the transmission of ultrasound energy into the patient while reducing wave distortion. Furthermore, it is important to integrate the ultrasound systems with their respective robotic arms, i.e. the FUS source, the imaging probe integrated with it, and the separate imaging probe.
The second purpose of this WP is to set-up the Medical Workstation with the implementation of a high-level interface for the control of the robotic platform. This interface should be simple and intuitive, showing all the information regarding e.g., the advancement of the therapy, positioning of the robots and transducer status. This data flow will ensure constant, on-line supervision of the therapy by the Clinician, who will be able to assist and guide the procedure remotely.
DESCRIPTION OF WORK
T7.1 Robot-Patient interfaces - This task is mainly devoted to the design of a dedicated interface to couple the FUS transducer with patient’s body. During this Task all the specifications regarding this interface will be take into account; more suitable shape and material for the shell of the coupler will be investigate in order to make it compliant, allowing an adaptive coupling with patient’s body. Filler material will be chosen for the acoustical coupling and to ensure a correct cooling and avoid thermal effects on patient skin (e.g. high overheating or burning).
Different solutions will be evaluated and developed, in order to perform a comparative analysis for the optimal choice. Starting point can be considered a pillow attached to the transducer and filled of degassed water or acoustic coupler gel and connected to a high-pressure reservoir.
It is essential to measure and control the robot-patient interactions and have a feedback mechanism to ensure that the patient safety is guaranteed. This may be achieved, for example, by means of pressure/temperature sensors positioned within the coupler.
Furthermore, the interfaces needed to integrate the three ultrasound systems (e.g. FUS source with integrated imaging probe and 3D separated imaging probe) with their respective robots will be designed and developed during this Task activity.
T7.2 Medical Workstation - During the final months of the second years it will be developed a Medical Workstation and a graphical user interface in order to allow the surgeon to remote control and supervise the therapy.
High-level interfaces will be implemented in order to show all the information to the medical doctor in a simple and intuitive way, based on continuous interaction with the final user (i.e. physicians and medical doctors). Through this workstation, it should be possible to follow the advancement of the therapy and to control all the crucial parameters (obtained thanks to internal and external sensors, such as pressure and optic sensors merged with medical images) in order to have constantly human supervising and monitoring of the performed therapy. The surgeon will be provided with a haptic interface, through which he can easily interact with the platform and monitor/drive the advancement of the procedure. The interfaces will matches requirements for therapy controlling.