Automatic Nasopharyngeal Swab Sampling Robot System

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has spread rapidly and become a global pandemic. Initial screening of patients is most critical to prevent the spread of COVID-19. While nasopharyngeal swab is the reference sampling method to detect severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, the procedure may pose a high risk of cross-infection and also the high workload of medical professionals. We believe that fully automatic sample collection robot systems would have great potential to address these issues, while shortening the collection time.

 
Embryonic Stem Cells
 

Visual Servo Control of COVID-19 Nasopharyngeal Swab Sampling Robot

 

  While automation of the nasopharyngeal swab is regarded as a potential solution to address the facing problems, only a few study of automated NP swabs has been reported yet.


To implement a fully automated nasopharyngeal swab robot, we propose a visual servo control framework that can accurately place the sampling swab on the nostril. The proposed framework incorporates a deep learning-based nostril detection with a cascade approach to reliably identify the nostrils with high accuracy in real time.


  Furthermore, we introduce a partitioned visual servoing scheme that combines image-based visual servoing with the axial control for accurately positioning the sampling swabs at the nostril with a multi-DOF robot arm.

 

Nostrils Detection and Tracking
Using Deep Learning

To control the swab sampling robots, we propose a robot system capable automatically of inserting a sampling swab through one nostril using a camera attached to the system.

Swab Segmentation
Using Deep Learning

For visual servoing of the sampling swab, we need to know the end position of the swab. We use a segmentation algorithm to find the whole pixels of the swab. Then we get the line and the tip of the swab with these pixels through RANSAC.

 

Swab Sampling Robot
Visual Servoing Control

 

Evaluation of Applied Force During Nasopharyngeal Swab Sampling Using Handheld Sensorized Instrument

Research of suitable force is essential to collect samples accurately and safely. But the quantitative study of force for safe and effective control has not been widely performed yet. Hence, this study presents applied force during the standard nasopharyngeal swab sampling procedure using a handheld sensorized instrument.