Distributed network, wireless and cloud computing enabled 3-D ultrasound; a new medical technology paradigm.

Meir A, Rubinsky B.

Center for Bioengineering in the Service of Humanity and Society, School of Computer Science and Engineering, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel. arie.coach@gmail.com


Medical technologies are indispensable to modern medicine. However, they have become exceedingly expensive and complex and are not available to the economically disadvantaged majority of the world population in underdeveloped as well as developed parts of the world. For example, according to the World Health Organization about two thirds of the world population does not have access to medical imaging. In this paper we introduce a new medical technology paradigm centered on wireless technology and cloud computing that was designed to overcome the problems of increasing health technology costs. We demonstrate the value of the concept with an example; the design of a wireless, distributed network and central (cloud) computing enabled three-dimensional (3-D) ultrasound system. Specifically, we demonstrate the feasibility of producing a 3-D high end ultrasound scan at a central computing facility using the raw data acquired at the remote patient site with an inexpensive low end ultrasound transducer designed for 2-D, through a mobile device and wireless connection link between them. Producing high-end 3D ultrasound images with simple low-end transducers reduces the cost of imaging by orders of magnitude. It also removes the requirement of having a highly trained imaging expert at the patient site, since the need for hand-eye coordination and the ability to reconstruct a 3-D mental image from 2-D scans, which is a necessity for high quality ultrasound imaging, is eliminated. This could enable relatively untrained medical workers in developing nations to administer imaging and a more accurate diagnosis, effectively saving the lives of people.

PMID: 19936236 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]PMCID: PMC2775631Free PMC Article

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