Development of 2D Ultrasound Tracking Software and Hardware to Monitor Multiple Flexor Tendon Displacement for Applications Toward Hand Prostheses




Stegman, Kelly J.

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This thesis work provides a new way to detect and track the displacement of flexor tendons within the human arm, using a non-invasive, ultrasound-based, speckle tracking technique. By tracking the tendons in the arm, it provides a way to monitor a person’s intention to move their hands and fingers. This has application to hand prosthetic control, as well as tendon injury assessment, which has significant contributions to the medical and rehabilitation community. The system works by capturing and processing a sequence of B-scan ultrasound images, to detect and track the flexor tendon motion (excursion) in the wrist, as the user flexes their muscles. Given the biomechanics of the hand, tendon displacement is correlated to the user’s intention to move their finger. Several speckle tracking techniques using B-scan ultrasound image sequences are developed in this work, including: auto-location of the tendon, a stationary ROI (region of interest), and novel use of similarity measures such as FT (Fisher Tippett), and hybrid methods. As well, work is done to investigate various speckle tracking parameters, and their effects on tracking accuracy. The different speckle tracking techniques are developed using data obtained from cadaver hands, and human volunteers undergoing regular surgery. The tracking techniques are compared in terms of successfully detecting the tendon, accurately tracking tendon displacement, successfully tracking multiple tendons, successfully detecting and tracking the onset of low tendon displacement, and computational efficiency of the algorithms. Another major aspect of this work is the design of a novel quad-array transducer that can collect image sequences from up to four tendons simultaneously. This transducer is instrumental to the motivation for controlling an advanced prosthesis. As well, specialized hardware is designed for the cadaver-based studies. Overall, this thesis successfully demonstrated the proposed tracking algorithms and newly designed hardware, for tracking the displacement of single and multiple flexor tendons. It has provided several important contributions to the field.



B-Scan ultrasound, prosthetic control, speckle tracking