Sunday, February 17, 2013

FPGAs Advance Medical Imaging

Field Programmable Gate Arrays and other computing elements can improve imaging techniques such as optical coherence tomography.

Optical Coherence Tomography is a promising diagnostic tool that could have applications in many different medical fields. The technology takes advantage of the latest computing hardware architectures and is used to create medical instruments tat can detect cancer and other conditions in a safe, simple and effective manner.

How does OCT work ?

This noninvasive imaging technique provides subsurface, cross-sectional images of materials. To create an image OCT uses a low power light source and corresponding light reflections. It measures light in a way that is similar to how ultra sound machines measures sound. When the light beam is projected into a sample, much of the light is scattered. A small amount reflects as a collimated beam, which can be detected and used   to create a very detailed image.

Critical Computing Elements

FPGAs enable flexibility, helping explorers to innovate new ideas  and reduce risk in the system development process. FPGAs are reconfigurable through software . This advantage enable a designer to save the development time by demonstrating hardware-based processing while preserving the option of
World's first 3D OCT system

reprogramming the FPGA to accommodate the modifications that are required after initial specification.  FPGAs have grown rapidly in popularity for medical applications. With regard to medical imaging , FPGAs are primarily used in the detection and image construction.The detection application involves embedded systems, with real time performance requirements and significant hardware  interface challenges.Image reconstruction on the other hand , is similar to high-performance computing problem.

The use of GPUs has also ramped up significantly for scientific research.

The above pictured is simplified schematic of time domain OCT system. OCT images relies on the interference of light reflected from a sample and reference mirror to produce an image.

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