How can we wield advances in medical imaging technology to enhance pregnancy care in the less-developed world? One answer is the TraCer (Transcerebellar Diameter) project. In this project we are developing a simple, low-cost, ultrasound-based gestational age (GA) estimation device.
(Image: The TRACER device being used in The Gambia and Kenya).
The TraCer device uses commercially available ultrasound equipment but innovative deep-learning based algorithms to help tackle issues surrounding maternal and newborn health in resource poor settings. This low-cost device will enable minimally trained health care workers to estimate gestational age, which will be invaluable in helping to manage the ongoing pregnancy.
The innovative algorithms automatically identify two key fetal structures (the fetal Cerebellum and Head Circumference), automatically measure them and convert these to gestational age. An inbuilt quality assessment feature helps guide the user to find a good measurement plane.
The device is currently being utilised as part of the PRECISE Network, and is currently in use in Kenya, The Gambia and Mozambique as part of a prospective pregnancy cohort (www.precisenetwork.org).
Funding: UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Global Challenge Research Fund (GCRF)
In January 2021, the TraCER Team won second place in the Engineer Collaborate to Innovate Awards in the Healthcare and Medical category. Read more on the UK Research & Innovation (UKRI) website here.