Ultrasound Systems/Clinical Applications

Software in Ultrasound Research

© Fraunhofer IBMT
Ultrasound research offline analysis tool.

The development of new procedures and techniques using ultrasound imaging and signal processing is usually based on the registration and processing of high-frequency ultrasound raw data both before and after beamforming. Existing commercial ultrasound platforms usually only offer limited access to the relevant system parameters.

We offer a complete ultrasound research package including a software architecture based on the scalable DiPhAS multichannel ultrasound research hardware with free access to all system parameters for beamforming and signal-/image-processing, including multicore and GPU accelerated 2D scan conversion, 3D volume reconstruction and raw single channel data access. The scalable hardware system and the software implementation are used in medical products with certification for clinical use and utilize a unique closed loop control for implementation of new algorithms and procedures without losing a clinical validation.


Requirements on an Ultrasound Research Interface

© Fraunhofer IBMT
Ultrasound single element channel data and reconstruction.

Working on ultrasound research for 2D /3D measurement and imaging requires the use of high-frequency ultrasound data and open interfaces for hardware and software including free programmability of beamforming parameters and scanning modes. 

The process of developing new imaging procedures is an iterative process that requires flexible adaptations to both software implementations of signal processing algorithms and hardware setup and features. Vendors of commercial diagnostic ultrasound systems usually do not provide access to measured raw data and interfaces in all devices for every buyer and limit the access to just a few research topics and selected research groups. 

Furthermore, access is only available for the high-end, expensive models and there is a lack of medical approval as a diagnostic imaging system as soon as the devices are used in RF-data research mode.

Software Overview

© Fraunhofer IBMT
Ultrasound research interface software.

The use of comprehensive software components for research hardware is necessary to help developers to focus on the development of new techniques and not the handling of common problems in ultrasound imaging.

With this in mind we designed a portable C++ and C# (Microsoft .NET framework) software architecture including imaging and analysis for both online and offline tools. Nevertheless the programming of the framework and its interfaces is easy to learn and can be adapted to any additional tasks.

Included in the software framework are routines for data acquisition via USB, signal processing (i.e. logarithmic compressions, envelope detections, bone or tissue detection filters, channel-data to delay-and-sum-data reconstruction, scanconversion, 3-D reconstruction,...), image analysis and processing (i.e. speckle reduction imaging, measurements,..), data export (i.e. RF-raw data, images, videos, DICOM, text output for external analysis,...) and data import from different measurement systems in-house and externally. 

The algorithms support multi-core, multi-threaded or GPU accelerated (using OpenCL) system architectures and benefit from parallelization.

Support for 3D tracking systems to acquire and reconstruct volume datasets is implemented by position and orientation measurement for optical, mechanical and electromagnetic 3D tracking systems (i.e. NDI Polaris, Spectra, Vicra, Microscribe, Ascension Flock of Birds,...).

The signal and image processing of this research platform provides a unique feature by the closed-loop device control that simplifies the development of new techniques and algorithms. Custom filters developed according to the filter software interfaces can control the beamforming and system parameters automatically, conserving the medical certification for the important tests at clinical sites.

All this is implemented using an open filter framework, open data structures, a plug-in concept and closed-loop control. Programming an implementation of a new filter algorithm for both online and offline processing can be developed in just 5 minutes using templates for RF-based or image-based processing.

The picture above shows the possibilities of signal generation and data acquisition using the "DiPhAS" research platform, and gives an overview of access to channel data, beamformed 16 bit RF-data, 8 bit amplitude data after envelope detection and logarithmic compression before scan conversion, image data after scan conversion and processed imaged data for use in the closed-loop control.

Our Offer

We offer an ultrasound research platform that consists of a scalable and freely programmable hardware platform combined with a software architecture for 2D and 3D imaging and measurement developed according to IEC 62304.

The free access to channel data, RF-data and 8-bit amplitude data together with a filter plug-in system that allows closed-loop control makes this system a unique research tool with the possibility of medical certification to implement and test new algorithms and procedures.

It is easy to develop a commercial product based on the research, as has been proven in several applications.

Ultrasound Research Platform

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