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Robot platform for ultrasound scans

The robot ROPCA Ultrasound (RU) will automate the way Odense University Hospital performs ultrasound scans for patients suspected to have rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and deep vein thrombosis (DVT). An early stage prototype of RU already exists, so the aim of the projects is to further develop the platform and perform clinical tests.

ROPCA Ultrasound is to be used for diagnosis and evaluation of RA and DVT, and the goal is that RU will ensure a systematic and uniform method for performing the ultrasound scan, which will give the doctors the best possible basis for creating a treatment plan.

With the scanning robot, the RA patients can have their hands scanned during all consultations at the hospital, and all images will be saved and compared automatically each time, which allows us to follow the development of their conditions. The current manual scanning methods do not allow for a systematic approach.

The robot consists of an arm attached to a table with a glass plate where the patient places the hand that needs to be scanned. Sensors on the robot analyses or “feels” the hand to ensure that the right places are scanned without putting too much pressure on the hand. After each scan the data are saved and analysed and given a score based on the rheumatoid activity in the hand.


In the spring of 2017, scientists from SDU and OUH were awarded 2 million DKK under the strategic research focus area of welfare innovation to develop and test the new robot platform.

More robots coming

There are many possibilities for use of the scanning robot once the development is finished. The idea is that in the future it can also be used for diagnosing other conditions for example in the emergency department or the cardio-vascular area.

About the project

The ROPCA Ultrasound robot will be developed by engineers at SDU Robotics in the Maersk McKinney Moller Institute at the University of Southern Denmark in close collaboration with clinical staff at the hospital and innovation consultants in CIMT.


  • Thiusius Rajeeth Savarimuthu, associate professor, PhD, SDU Robotics
  • Henrik Gaunsbæk, innovation consultant, project manager, Centre for Innovative Medical Technology, OUH 
  • Søren Andreas Just, MD, medical specialist in rheumatoid arthritis, Dept. of General Medicine and researcher in the Dept. of Rheumatology, OUH
  • Nikolaj Iversen, MSc Engineering, Robot Lab, OUH, Facilities Management

Read more about the technical aspects of the project on the SDU website.

Permanent link to this article: http://old.cimt.dk/projects/innovation/robot-ultrasound/