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Astronauts Use Portable Ultrasound in Space

By Medimaging International staff writers
Posted on 20 Jun 2017
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Image: The Orcheo Lite TE system was used on the International Space Station (Photo courtesy of NASA/Sonoscanner).
Image: The Orcheo Lite TE system was used on the International Space Station (Photo courtesy of NASA/Sonoscanner).
A French astronaut has successfully tested a remotely operated ultrasound scanner platform on the International Space Station (ISS).

The ultrasound system and the fully motorized volumic probe were both operated remotely in the ISS by an ultrasound expert on Earth.

The Orcheo Lite TE system was developed by Sonoscanner (Paris, France) together with the French Centre national d'études spatiales (CNES) and the European Space Agency (ESA), and has received CE (Conformité Européene) Mark certification.

The system is compact, weighs only 5 kg, and performs in a true triplex mode. True triplex mode enables concurrent visualization and simultaneous refresh in B&W, color, and pulsed-waved modes in real time to ensure correct placing of the Pulsed-Wave (PW) gate. The system has sensitive Doppler color and Doppler energy technology, can render sharp and accurate images of structures, and includes post-processing software for edge-sharpening, and improved tissue differentiation.

All setting of the Orcheo Lite, such as frequency, focal depth, resolution, and post-processing are adjusted automatically as the depth of the area-of-interest changes. The ergonomic design of the scanner was developed following extensive research with clinicians to reduce the number of clicks required to perform a scan. The system also features an auto mode in which contrast, gain and post-processing are adjusted automatically.

During testing on the ISS, the astronaut Thomas Pesquet used the probe on himself while an ultrasound expert in Toulouse, France, operated the device and the probe. The probe could also be used on Earth to treat patients in remote or isolated areas, for example during natural disasters.

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