Development and Testing of a Durable and Novel Breast Phantom for Robotic Autonomous Ultrasound Systems

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For the safe and effective development of evolving autonomous medical robotic systems that traverse the surface of the body, like in breast ultrasound scans, developing phantoms that are durable and mechanically mimic human tissue is critical. In this work, a long lasting, inexpensive, and geometrically customizable phantom is described with mechanical and ultrasound acoustic properties that simulate human breast tissue. In comparison to prior work, a priority was designing a highly elastic phantom outer layer modulus 20 kPa and inner semi-liquid layer to mimic the difficulties of traversing human breast tissue with autonomous medical robotic systems. In addition, ultrasound images of the novel phantom with enclosed tumor are similar to in vivo image of human breast tissue with invasive ductal carcinoma, representing 80% of breast cancer cases. The performance of a force feedback controller on an autonomous ultrasound scanning system was compared for the novel phantom and a commercial phantom. Overall, the controller performed worse on the novel phantom - highlighting the importance of testing autonomous systems on realistic phantoms.






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Rigby Oca, S, A Strong, J Havas, DM Buckland and LJ Bridgeman (2022). Development and Testing of a Durable and Novel Breast Phantom for Robotic Autonomous Ultrasound Systems. Journal of Medical Robotics Research, 7(4). 10.1142/S2424905X22410100 Retrieved from

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Daniel Buckland

Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine

Dr. Buckland is an Attending Physician at Duke University Hospital Emergency Department. He is also the Director of the Duke Acute Care Technology Lab (DACTL) where he leads research in developing technology for the diagnosis and treatment of acute disease in data science and robotics projects. Dr Buckland oversees several PhD, Masters, and Undergraduate engineer researchers as their primary advisor, as well as manages collaborative research projects between clinicians and engineering students. His work at DACTL also involves studying how advancements in technology affect the healthcare system. In addition, Dr. Buckland is the Deputy Chair of the Human System Risk Board of the Office of the Chief Health and Medical Officer via an Intergovernmental Personnel Act agreement with NASA, where he determines the human system risk of spaceflight and how standards, countermeasures, and mission design can mitigate risk.

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