Taking control of medical imaging


05-11-2010

A new controller device that greatly improves the ease of use of 3D medical imaging workstations has been developed at the University of Cambridge and Addenbrooke’s Hospital.

The device will be presented at RSNA2010, the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America, to be held later this month in Chicago. Additionally, a short film describing the controller is available on the University’s YouTube site, www.youtube.com/cambridgeuniversity.

The huge growth in three-dimensional medical imaging technology in recent years means that radiologists are now routinely examining complex 3D data image sets. Increasingly, they are using 2D image planes that slice through this data at a variety of angles to obtain the most clinically informative view.

However, current approaches used to orientate the 2D image plane within the 3D data are cumbersome and visually distracting. Workstations with conventional keyboards and mice require users to rely on multiple reference images and multiple operations to change the orientation of the image plane.

A new controller, invented by Professor David Lomas of the Department of Radiology at the University of Cambridge and Dr Martin Graves of Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, allows radiologists to orientate 2D views created from 3D data easily and rapidly without depending on reference images. By allowing the radiologist to focus only on the clinical image, the controller minimises the spatial disorientation and visual distraction associated with existing approaches.

The intuitive mode of action of the controller developed by Lomas and Graves is inspired by clinical ultrasound, where the operator directs their attention fully to the diagnostic image and avoids distracting interactions with the system interface. The inventors realised that the reason this was possible was that the ultrasound probe is always in contact with and constrained by the patient’s skin surface. By developing a controller that mimics this surface constraint, they have created a device that is as easy and intuitive to use as an ultrasound probe.

Radiologists provide vital diagnostic information that has a huge impact on patients and increasingly work at computer workstations for many hours a day. Until now the ergonomics of workstations has been a low priority. By making the examination of clinical data more intuitive, this controller is an important improvement for medical imaging workstations.

The controller device can also be used to orientate the image plane during real-time MRI examinations in a similar fashion to ultrasound.

Cambridge Enterprise, the University of Cambridge’s commercialisation group, has worked closely with the inventors and is currently seeking commercial partners to further the development of this novel technology.

 

 

The video can be viewed by clicking here. High-resolution copies are available upon request.


Cambridge Enterprise Limited is a wholly owned subsidiary of the University of Cambridge, responsible for the commercialisation of University intellectual property. Activities include management and licensing of intellectual property and patents, proof of concept funding and support for University staff and research groups wishing to provide expert advice or facilities to public and private sector organisations. Cambridge Enterprise provides access to angel and early stage capital through the Cambridge Enterprise Seed Funds and Cambridge Enterprise Venture Partners, and offers business planning, mentoring, and other related programmes. Over the past two years, income from licensing, consultancy and equity transactions exceeded £18 million, of which £14 million represents distributions to University departments and academics.

 

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SarahCollins                                                                                                                                                   MarketingManager                                                                                                                                         Cambridge Enterprise Limited                                                                                                                                       Tel: +44 (0)1223 760339 Mob : +44 (0)7500 883612                                                                                                 email:
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