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Center Innovation Fund: JSC CIF

Virtual Guidance of Abdominal Trauma Using Augmented Reality

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

Virtual Guidance of Abdominal Trauma Using Augmented Reality

Ultrasound is the only medical imaging modality on the International Space Station due to its size, power requirements and versatility in medical imaging.  Unfortunately, ultrasound is a very operator dependent procedure and astronauts do not have time to train sufficiently before flight.  Virtual Guidance, a type of just-in-time training, is a method used to facilitate autonomous operation of medical ultrasound by untrained astronauts with a real-time audio/video tutorial when distances from Earth render remote guidance impractical.  Virtual Guidance, viewed through video glasses while actually scanning, has demonstrated successful imaging of the eye and carotid artery.  This project improves on earlier successes by incorporating Augmented Reality in the form of 3D anatomy illustrations, thus improving the astronaut's situational awareness for the assessment of abdominal trauma.  Untrained ultrasound operators will be recruited in the future to perform Focused Assessment with Sonography in Trauma (FAST) exams using only the Virtual Guidance audio/video tutorial. The quality of the resulting Images will be evaluated by an external expert.

On the International Space Station, astronauts have to be guided through ultrasound studies by experts on the ground.  This method is called remote guidance, and has been very successful with communication time delays of 2 seconds or less.  On missions further from earth, remote guidance will not be possible.  Virtual Guidance streams an audio video tutorial to the astronaut through video glasses actually while they are performing the ultrasound study.  The tutorial includes step by step instructions in patient positioning, equipment use, how to hold the probe, scanning protocols and required images.  For each required image, there is a photograph of the probe location, a representative ultrasound image from the site and audio instructions in how to achieve the view.  In addition, there is a section for each required view that covers what can go wrong.  This includes images from incorrect locations and how to improve the image to achieve the required results.  Virtual guidance has demonstrated successful imaging of the eye and carotid artery.  This project builds upon previous successes with Virtual Guidance by incorporating Augmented Reality, in the form of a 3-dimensional anatomical image, improving the astronaut's situational awareness. Untrained ultrasound operators will be recruited in the future to perform Focused Assessment with Sonography in Trauma (FAST) exams using only the Virtual Guidance audio/video tutorial. The quality of the resulting Images will be evaluated by an external expert.

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