Towards MRI-Based Autonomous Robotic US Acquisitions: A First Feasibility Study

Christoph Hennersperger, Bernhard Fuerst, Salvatore Virga, Oliver Zettinig, Benjamin Frisch, Thomas Neff, Nassir Navab

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


Robotic ultrasound has the potential to assist and guide physicians during interventions. In this work, we present a set of methods and a workflow to enable autonomous MRI-guided ultrasound acquisitions. Our approach uses a structured-light 3D scanner for patient-to-robot and image-to-patient calibration, which in turn is used to plan 3D ultrasound trajectories. These MRI-based trajectories are followed autonomously by the robot and are further refined online using automatic MRI/US registration. Despite the low spatial resolution of structured light scanners, the initial planned acquisition path can be followed with an accuracy of 2.46 ± 0.96 mm. This leads to a good initialization of the MRI/US registration: the 3D-scan-based alignment for planning and acquisition shows an accuracy (distance between planned ultrasound and MRI) of 4.47 mm, and 0.97 mm after an online-update of the calibration based on a closed loop registration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number7637013
Pages (from-to)538-548
Number of pages11
JournalIEEE transactions on medical imaging
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Automatic imaging
  • image-guidance
  • medical robotics
  • multi-modal registration
  • robotic ultrasound
  • ultrasonic imaging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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