An actuated handheld force-feedback controlled ultrasound probe has been developed. The controller maintains a prescribed contact force between the probe and a patient’s body. The device will enhance the diagnostic capability of free-hand elastography, swept-force compound imaging and make it easier for a technician to acquire repeatable (i.e., directly comparable) images over time. The mechanical system consists of an ultrasound probe, a ball-screw-driven linear actuator, and a force/torque sensor. The feedback controller commands the motor to rotate the ball screw to translate the ultrasound probe in order to maintain a desired contact force. In preliminary user studies, it was found that the control system maintained a constant contact force with 1.7 times less variation than human subjects provided with a visual force display. Users without a visual force display were only able to maintain a constant force with 20 times worse variation than the automatic controller. The system was also used to determine the viscoelastic properties of soft tissues.

You do not currently have access to this content.