Mechanical engineering and biomedical engineering are furthering their bosom-buddy status through a world first testing of HER technology. It means Haptically-Enabled Robots and Australia’s Deakin University could be bringing them to the world with Telstra quite soon. The robots would be able to conduct ultrasound imaging diagnoses to remote locations where medical help is few and far between. The robots come out of the Deakin University’s Institute for Intelligent System Research and Innovation, and will be connected through a 4G wireless network by the help of Telstra.
Credit: Deakin University
The 4G wireless network will also allow a doctor to be sitting 620+ miles away whilst they control the robot and use the technology on a patient that is in another part of the country. The institute’s director, Professor Saeid Nahavandi said the partnership would result in a world-first application of the HER technology that had previously been a pipe dream for some companies to achieve. He said: “Our aim is to develop advanced haptic, or force feedback, and stereovision capability for remote ultrasound procedures. It will increase the availability of ultrasound for regional patients, which is incredibly important, but it will also minimise potential errors, saving time that might be spent having the patient rescanned or transported to a regional hub.”
Telstra needs to ensure that the network will be operational twenty-four-seven if this kind of technology is to work on 4G networks. “We’re certainly not looking to lock up this technology just for domestic use, we think it has global applicability and certainly we will work with some of our international partners to see how we can license and deploy this for the greater good of the world,” said Vish Nandlall, Telstra’s chief technology officer. “This can help in improving patient outcomes at the end of the day because we’re basically allowing skilled operators to get access to those remote patients without having to travel to those remote locations.”
The haptic feedback on the doctor’s side will allow them to physically feel what the robot is doing under their command from hundreds of miles away.