The robot-arm is the heart of the BBE. It replaces a cardiac sonographer who would otherwise manually move an echo probe over the body of a patient. The robot-arm also allows a patient to remain in a resting position (whereas s/he would regularly need to move for a traditional heart echo). This is not on only more comfortable for the patient, but the absence of movement and the face-down position are also expected to result in higher-quality echoes as images would be less distorted by the ribcage and lung tissue. The echo can thus be acquired with less risk of virus spread as well.

Prototype development.
The BBE has been under development since 2019 with the support of the Delft University of Technology and the Reinier de Graaf Gasthuis, a hospital that is also located in Delft (see Chapter 5 for details on technology partners). A fully functioning prototype was completed in January 2020 and presented at a national meeting for engineers in early 2020 (Image 2). A second prototype is currently being developed and will be able to produce better quality heart echoes through the use of a more advanced echo probe and more sophisticated software.