This paper aims to present a prototype of medical transportation robot whose positioning accuracy can reach millimeter-level in terms of patient transportation. By using this kind of mobile robot, a fully automatic image diagnosis process among independent CT/PET devices and the image fusion can be achieved.
Following a short introduction, a large-load 4WD-4WS (four-wheel driving and four-wheel steering) mobile robot for carrying patient among multiple medical imaging equipments is developed. At the same time, a specially designed bedplate with self-locking function is also introduced. For further improving the positioning accuracy, the authors proposed a calibration method based on Gaussian process regression (GPR) to process the measuring data of the sensors. The performance of this robot is verified by the calibration experiment and Image fusion experiment. Finally, concluding comments are drawn.
By calibrating the robot’s positioning system through the proposed GPR method, one can obtain the accuracy of the robot’s offset distance and deflection angle, which are 0.50 mm and +0.21°, respectively. Independent repeated trials were then set up to verify this result. Subsequent phantom experiment shows the accuracy of image fusion can be accurate within 0.57 mm in the front-rear direction and 0.83 in the left-right direction, respectively, while the clinical experiment shows that the proposed robot can practically realize the transportation of patient and image fusion between multiple imaging diagnosis devices.
The proposed robot offers an economical image fusion solution for medical institutions whose imaging diagnosis system basically comprises independent MRI, CT and PET devices. Also, a fully automatic diagnosis process can be achieved so that the patient’s suffering of getting in and out of the bed and the doctor’s radiation dose can be obviated.
The general bedplate presented in Section 2 that can be mounted on the CT and PET devices and the self-locking mechanism has realized the catching and releasing motion of the patient on different medical devices. They also provide a detailed method regarding patient handling and orientation maintenance, which was hardly mentioned in previous research. By establishing the positioning system between the robot and different medical equipment, a fully automatic diagnosis process can be achieved so that the patient’s suffering of getting in and out of the bed and the doctor’s radiation dose can be obviated.
The GPR-based method proposed in this paper offers a novel method for enhancing the positioning accuracy of the industrial AGV while the transportation robot proposed in this paper also offers a solution for modern imaging fusion diagnosis, which are basically predicated on the conjoint analysis between different kinds of medical devices.
This research was supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China under Grant No. 61773141 and 61105088. The authors would like to thank all the engineers engaged in this project for their help during the prototyping and experiments.
Wang, W., Du, C. and Du, Z. (2019), "A medical transportation robot for carrying and positioning patients between different devices", Industrial Robot, Vol. 46 No. 5, pp. 599-607. https://doi.org/10.1108/IR-09-2018-0188
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