Texas Instruments (TI) has announced a portfolio of more than 15 dedicated embedded processors which enable faster, more accurate results for doctors and clinicians while empowering imaging equipment manufacturers to develop new modalities or to make existing products smaller and more portable. These processors target several medical imaging applications, including ultrasound, computed tomography (CT), positron emission tomography (PET), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), digital x-ray, optical coherence tomography (OCT) and other newly developed modalities.
The processors join with TI’s full range of catalog and application-specific analog products to deliver a complete signal chain solution and help increase the speed and availability of care to millions of people around the world. For more information on the processors or TI’s new family of ultrasound transmitters, visit our website.
Faster, more accurate care
Embedded digital signal processors are flexible, programmable devices that can be field upgraded with the updated software and algorithms. Universities, programmers and R&D centers continually develop new algorithms to improve the clarity, depth and usefulness of diagnostic images. With TI’s extensible processors, these new algorithms can be easily uploaded to field-deployed machines. For equipment manufacturers, these rapid updates lengthen the life of their installations, while improving machine functionality. For clinicians and patients, improved images equal better diagnoses and care response.
In addition to enabling improved images, TI’s processors and high-performance analog products also positively impact the speed of care. Many of TI’s integrated circuits for medical imaging offer exceptional performance at very low power and in ultra-small form factors, enabling equipment manufacturers to turn large, fixed machines into portable or handheld devices. Portable imaging machines can travel directly to the patient – whether in an ambulance, in remote locations or in trauma and triage settings — improving the overall speed and effectiveness of delivering treatment.
Embedded processors, as well as TI’s DLPTM technology, also give manufacturers tools for new imaging modalities. New techniques such as tissue elasticity imaging, hyperspectral imaging, adaptive patient-specific imaging, and 3D/4D imaging and vein viewing all leverage the numerous capabilities of high performance, low power devices from TI. For example, real-time, patient-specific tissue elasticity images can be achieved with new algorithms developed specifically for TI’s processors, delivering optimal diagnostics. For 3D/4D imaging, which requires a tremendous amount of real-time processing, TI’s processors improve the richness of 3D fetal modeling for clinical analysis and enable effective 4D cardiovascular applications. DLP technology eliminates ‘bad sticks’ by allowing the patient’s veins to be highlighted and easily viewed.
“Since the 1980s, TI has worked with medical customers and imaging pioneers such as the University of Washington to develop technologies that advance medical electronics to improve patient care,” said Niels Anderskouv, vice president of DSP Systems with TI. “With this portfolio of processors, we believe we are truly able to give our customers the tools they need to deliver faster, more accurate imaging results to patients and physicians.”
Broadest IC portfolio for medical imaging available
Addressing many challenges facing imaging OEMs, TI begins with the signal chain — taking the analog signal captured by the machine, digitizing it for analysis and then converting it back to analog for viewing by the physician or clinician. Surrounding the signal chain, TI also provides power management, clocks, interface, amplifiers and data converters, resulting in the broadest semiconductor portfolio products available for all medical imaging modalities.
TI’s embedded processors range from high-performance multicore devices to very low-power products that meet imaging equipment manufacturers’ needs. For example, TI’s numerous multicore products offer significant computational performance required by OEMs for high-end imaging modalities. High-performance single-core processors such as the TMS320C6455 and TMS320C6452 are well-suited for imaging modalities requiring real-time operations such as ultrasound, digital x-ray, OCT, hyperspectral imaging and other emerging applications.
Leveraging TI’s industry-recognized imaging capabilities, the TMS320DM644x family improves backend processing for imaging applications. Portable and handheld applications benefit from TI’s low power OMAP™ and TMS320C67x processor platforms, which deliver significantly more performance versus power than traditional field programmable gate arrays (FPGA). TI’s portfolio of products based on DaVinci™ technology offers a complete processing solution with a combination of peripherals, memory and processors to significantly reduce board space and complexity for smaller products that can get to market faster.
Each of these processors is surrounded by a robust gathering of analog products designed to enhance the power efficiency, speed and processing of the images captured on screen. For ultrasound applications specifically, TI offers tailor-made analog signal chain products like the AFE58xx family of fully integrated analog front ends, which allows the design of innovative, affordable ultrasound systems with smallest size, superior image quality and reduced power consumption – from handheld devices to high-performance ultrasound equipment.
In addition, a new family of devices – the TX7xx family of high-voltage pulsers and switches for portable to mid-range ultrasound systems – has also been announced. The first device in the family, the TX734, is a quad channel high-voltage pulser that reduces board space by 50% compared to discrete solutions, and its active damping feature improves pulse symmetry and second order distortion to achieve clearer images. For more information, go to our website.