2011 International Conference on Biomedical Engineering and Technology IPCBEE vol.

11 (2011) © (2011) IACSIT Press, Singapore

Virtual Medical Instrument for OTOROB Based on LabVIEW for Acquiring Multiple Medical Instrument LCD Reading Using Optical Character Recognition
Muralindran Mariappan 1, Vigneswaran Ramu 1, Thayabaren Ganesan 1, Brendan Khoo 1 and Kumarheshan Vellian 1
1

Robotics & Bio-Medical Engineering Research Group (RoBiMed), Universiti Malaysia Sabah, Malaysia

Abstract. OTOROB is a telemedicine mobile robot for orthopaedic surgeons that have remote presence
capability to diagnose patients in remote area. As a telemedicine robot, it requires a set of medical instrument for a doctor to diagnostic patients. This paper presents a method to acquire the multiple medical instruments’ LCD reading using the concept of virtual medical instrument based on LabVIEW and its optical character recognition (OCR) module. The data obtained is then transmitted to OTOROB’s remote computer over internet. The medical instrument LCD screens and a USB camera are placed inside a box with a light source. Image captured by the camera is processed by LabVIEW OCR system. The OCR system is trained continuously until it is able to recognize characters consistently. The result shows that the virtual medical instrument is able to acquire and transmit the medical instrument LCD reading with very good accuracy and repeatability.

Keywords: virtual instrument, telemedicine, OTOROB, LabVIEW, optical character recognition.

1. Introduction
Virtual medical instrument refers to a system that integrates software and hardware to form a usable medical device on computer [1]. As Personal Computers (PC) are becoming more affordable, the usages of virtual instruments are increasing drastically in biomedical field. The most popular software used to create virtual instrument in general is National Instrument (NI) LabVIEW. It provides user friendly interface and extensive tools to interface, model, process and display virtually any instrument. Telemedicine refers to the application of medical data and information which is transferred from one location to another over a communication. Virtual medical instrument plays a vital role in telemedicine as a system that obtains the medical instrument data required by doctors in remote location to diagnostic a patient. By implementing this concept, our research team is developing a telemedicine mobile robot aimed for orthopaedic surgeons called OTOROB [2]. One of the most important part in OTOROB is the medical instrument module which requires a reliable virtual medical instrument that is able to transmit data over the internet to a doctor operating OTOROB in remote location. M.Lascu in [3] and B.Grinstead in [4] used data acquisition card (DAQ) to acquire biomedical signal from patient’s body and utilized LabVIEW software to process the signal to obtain usable data. Medical data such as Electrocardiogram was displayed on a virtual medical instrument. T.Xin in [5] created a mixed type wireless telemedicine monitor centre system using LabVIEW, general packet radio service (GPRS) and Digital Signal Processor (DSP). A telemedicine central unit receives patient vital signs which were captured and transmitted by a PDA over the internet using GPRS and also by DSP boards over LAN. A study by Y.Lin described an automatic instrumental reading system using CMOS camera and neural network system to do optical character recognition on an ocular optical instrument [6]. Conversion
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Zhong in [9] share the similarity in which both of them used webcam and LabVIEW Vision module to detect moving objects. and [9] proved that LabVIEW is easy to utilize yet can produce advance virtual instrument that is superior to traditional medical instrument. the basic medical instruments required for orthopaedic diagnostic are Vascular Doppler. To acquire alpha numerical data from medical instrument’s display. [4]. Vision Assistant contains Optical Character Recognition (OCR) training module which is essential for translating medical instrument readings from image to data.3 Megapixel webcam which is placed in a specific position so that it can capture readings on all three medical instruments’ LCD at the same time. Virtual Medical Instrument 2. Instrument LCD 1 (Vascular Doppler) Instrument LCD 2 (Blood Pressure Monitor) Instrument LCD 3 (Pulse Oximeter) Local Computer Remote Computer LABVIEW Vision Processing and OCR USB Camera Transmit Reading through Internet Internet Display LCD Reading on GUI Display LCD Reading on GUI Fig. 71 . The reason for creating separate GUI is to ensure that OTOROB will continue to function even when there is failure in one of the on-board system.algorithms together with self-learning back propagation neural network were created to process the image captured. LabVIEW includes an OCR module which makes it easier to implement on the virtual medical instrument. an image processing method called optical character recognition (OCR) will be used. the obtained medical data is definitely accurate. [5]. This is the key point of this research. Research in [3]. another way to obtain biomedical data is by doing image processing on the existing medical instrument itself. As the video feed is coming in from USB camera. This will tremendously reduce the time required to capture and process the image compared to processing it separately.Ghugardare in [7] did a similar research to obtain seven-segment display reading using OCR. Besides using DAQ card and electronic circuits to acquire and process raw signal.1.P. Research done by I. This method has an advantage over previous one in term of biomedical output data reliability. Blood Pressure Monitor and Pulse Oximeter. Images quality from a normal webcam is sufficient for LabVIEW to process and result obtained by both research proved that LabVIEW Vision module is very advance in term of features and at the same time very easy to use. R. Both of these systems are very hard to be implemented on other application as it will require the algorithm to be rewritten. Local computer hosts the LabVIEW software which includes Vision Assistant add-on that is required for processing the image acquired previously. 1: Virtual Medical Instrument Architecture Referring to Figure 1. By directly capturing its display. This camera is connected to a computer through USB. Figure 1 shows the block diagram of the system’s architecture. The data obtained will be stored on a document or excel file for external usage. the USB camera represents a normal 1. It is known that medical instruments sold in market are tested rigorously to make sure that it performs up to standard and display accurate patient vital signs. Architecture The virtual medical instrument is designed to acquire and process LCD readings from three different medical instruments in real-time. According to orthopaedic doctor. [8]. This file will then be used by OTOROB’s graphical user interface (GUI) to display the medical instrument and other data to user. 2.Lita in [8] and Y. LabVIEW captures images of the medical instrument LCD and at the same time the OCR system performs the conversion in real-time.

It will only transmit the readings when there is changed on the medical instrument’s LCD reading in order to reduce bandwidth usage. 2. 2. Wire connection to each LCD is extended so that they can be joined together to form cascading LCD screen such as shown in Figure 2. Initially. 72 . Medical Instrument LCD Placement In order to realize the proposed configuration.2. the module is configured to search for characters within the specified areas of the image which contained display of all three medical instrument LCD readings such as in Figure 3(a). Acquiring and Processing LCD Reading The image captured by USB camera is processed by LabVIEW Vision Assistant module. The image is then compared with a database of pre-trained character image stored in the OCR system to recognize the character it represents. LCD 2 for Blood Pressure Monitor and LCD 3 for Pulse Oximeter.3. the camera and LCDs are enclosed within a box to eliminate ambient light. all three medical instruments’ casing is dismantled and the LCD of each instrument is separated from its main board. The corresponding character is then segmented from the peak and the result is shown on the ‘Text Read’ tab on LabVIEW OCR system such as in Figure 3(b). the LabVIEW Vision Assistant OCR system converts the image into grey scale to differentiate dark and light pixels. 2: Medical Instrument LCD Placement By placing the USB camera at the specific distance from the LCD screens. Thresholding is then applied to convert the image to binary image such as in Figure 3(b). The remote user can be located anywhere in the world and still be able to receive the data as long as internet connection is available. Fig. it is able to capture image that is covered within the yellow line envelope which includes all three LCD screens. LabVIEW OCR intelligence system creates a histogram with peak for maximum density of dark pixels compared to light pixels density and valley for their absence. A uniform thresholding technique is chosen on the LabVIEW OCR options in order to compensate uneven image illumination and shadows. Two white light emitting diodes (LED) are placed behind the camera to provide uniform light source which is crucial for acquiring consistent image. This is a part of OTOROB’s telemedicine system. Then. Similar to the system in [7]. To address the lighting for camera.The GUI will also be able to transmit medical instrument data over the internet to a remote computer which hosts a receiver GUI. LCD 1 represents the display of Vascular Doppler.

LabVIEW OCR Training Training the LabVIEW OCR system requires capturing the LCD display image repeatedly until the system is able to recognize a character accurately. the system outputs the instrument LCD reading in data format which is then compared to an OCR database. TABLE 1 COMPARISION BETWEEN ACTUAL LCD READING AND OCR READING Test 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 LCD 1 Reading 104 124 59 77 192 61 134 148 91 85 OCR Reading 104 124 59 77 192 61 134 148 91 85 LCD 2 Reading 119 76 140 91 96 65 102 62 99 39 OCR Reading 119 76 140 91 96 65 102 62 99 39 LCD 3 Reading 98 80 99 85 92 97 90 100 90 89 OCR Reading 98 80 99 85 92 97 90 100 90 89 The result shows that the system is able to recognize all three medical instruments accurately which means LabVIEW OCR system is trained adequately. Figure 4 shows the Labview OCR before and after training. The surrounding ambient light does not affect the system’s accuracy as the USB camera and LCD screens are enclosed inside a box. each LCD display OCR is trained separately in order to make it more organisable. 73 . The OCR reading data is compared with the display on medical instruments’ LCD and the result is shown in Table 1. Fig. 3: Labview LCD Reading Area and OCR System (b) 2. For this purpose.(a) Fig. it is combined into one complete system. Each time an image is processed. After training the OCR repeatedly for specific number of times it is able to output correct character accurately.4. the correct value is updated to OCR system database in order for it to learn the specific pattern of each character. If the data is incorrect. 4: OCR before and after training 2. Experimental Results Once the LabVIEW OCR system is trained and able to accurately recognize characters on all three instrument LCD screens separately.5.

Grinstead and M.. [7] R. [5] T. 3. Jun. Lita. pp. this system is applicable in OTOROB due to its easiness to implement.P. Ghugardare.E. Parten.” Image (Rochester. “Otorob (Ortho Robot) with Docmata (Doctor s Eye): Role of Remote Presence in Developing Countries. 74 . 2.” 2009 7th IEEE International Conference on Industrial Informatics. Since the GUI will only transmit data when there is change to LCD reading data. 157-161. pp.N. Zhong. Conclusion The work presented in this paper describes a method of obtaining medical instrument LCD readings using LabVIEW Vision Assistant and OCR modules. N. 2010. Lin. 2009. Nov. S. Chengwei. 1-4. “Biomedical signal acquisition using "Labview"” Proceedings. Lascu. vol. [6] Y. the system is proven to be very accurate and reliable in long run. the internet bandwidth required is reduced tremendously. Conference. IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society. pp. No. 2007. G. 4. 4. 3870-3875. [3] M. Limei. and H. and Services. Lascu and D. Jan. 2009. “Optical character recognition system for seven segment display images of measuring instruments.Y. pp. As a result. 60-65.” IEEE 16th International Symposium for Design and Technology in Electronic Packaging (SIITME). pp. This paper also highlights the LCD screens positioning. pp. “The Study on Virtual Medical Instrument based on LabVIEW. “Research on network of remote real-time surveillance system based on LabVIEW. Kulkarni. “LabVIEW Based Biomedical Signal Acquisition and Processing. Acknowledgements The authors would like to acknowledge the funding received from MOSTI.” 2007 International Conference on Mechatronics and Automation. The experimental result shows that acquiring medical instrument LCD reading using OCR is successful with very good accuracy and reliability. [8] I. Visan. 2009. Xing-ming.” Conference proceedings : .. camera positioning and LabVIEW OCR system training. 11th IEEE Symposium on Computer-Based Medical Systems (Cat. and P. Z.” 2009 Second International Conference on Advances in Human-Oriented and Personalized Mechanisms. 1-6. pp. this system is able to work at acceptable rate in most broadband and narrowband internet. 2007.). Mukherji. [2] M.6. pp. The usage of LabVIEW in this project considerably reduced the time required to create a working system. 4072-5.” TENCON 2009 . P. [9] Y..” 3rd International Conference on Bioinformatics and Biomedical Engineering . Mariappan. Consequently. 225-228.P. Cioc. References [1] L. “LabVIEW Application for Movement Detection Using Image Acquisition and Processing. Narote. 2005. pp. Code No: FRG0108-TK1/2007. “Study on the Automatic Instrumental Reading System Based on Image Processing. 38-43.The converted OCR data is read and transmitted over the internet by OTOROB’s GUI. and C. Xiaoming..A. cost effectiveness.A.B. The Virtual Medical Instrument System transmission is tested on both broadband and dial-up internet connection. Aug. 2009. Xin. Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society. D. “Design and Realization of Distributed Wireless Telemedicine Monitor Center Based on Virtual Instruments. Min. Moreover. 51-56.98CB36237). Technologies. [4] B. ICBBE 2009. low bandwidth usage and high accuracy. 2009. and I. This is essential to ensure that OTOROB operates flawlessly.2009 IEEE Region 10 Conference. 2010. Iftikhar and M.M.

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