Immersive Medical Sonography

Medical ultrasound is a medical diagnostic technique based on the application of ultrasound to get views of the internal body structures or organs. Among the advantages there are its low cost, non-use of ionising radiation, and realtime imaging. The learning process implies the development os capabilities to interpret the images that correspond to 2D scans of the body inside. Being based on the emission of mechanical waves and detection of their reflections, these waves are modified by the elements that they encounter along the travel paths. In this process it is normal that artefacts may result from reflections or other sources but that are discarded by the experienced physician through a careful choice of the probe scan movements and varying its orientation. In this project we intend to create a system that includes an haptic device (phantom or …) that will be used to simulate the positioning of the sonograph probe, an HMD that will be used to visualise the both the (virtual) patient and the sonograph display.

The work plan will follow the following steps:

  1. Capture 3D body models from volunteers to be used in the subsequent works. These captures should include normal and normally inflated lungs (in breathing) and fully inflated lungs.
  2. Rig and adapt models for animations for normal breathing cycles, and full inflated poses.
  3. Animate normal breathing cycles, and transitions through fully inflated periods.
  4. Model the deformable model of the human body so that it can be touched and sense through the haptic device the force applied using BulletPhysics as support.
  5. Integrate the haptic device in the simulation to enable the touching
  6. Use models of probes with different shapes to experience different types of contact forces.
  7. Integrate the visualisation with the HMD device so that the user can perceive the procedure as done by himself under the control of his own hand.
  8. Design evaluation strategies for the usability of different configurations, in particular for the visualisation of the sonogram.

Supervision: Prof. Paulo Menezes