Using gaming technology to save lives, with medical imaging
May 02, 2007 (PRLEAP.COM) Health NewsPlayStation 3’s Cell processor heralds a leap forward in imaging technologies with significant benefits for improving patient care as gaming technology is increasingly used to improve medical imaging performance, reveals Medicexchange.com this week.
Early to see these crossover benefits with an gaming industry background, Dutch-based 3mensio, founded in August 2003, focuses on exploiting the capabilities offered by so-called Graphics Processing Units (GPUs) on graphics boards that are quickly becoming commodity components of PCs.
Now in the last few months a newcomer on the scene has started making waves, thanks to the need for exponentially greater computer power for the Sony PlayStation platform. “The impact of the Sony Cell chip means a ten to 20 times improvement using the multi-core processor, allowing the use of algorithms which we didn’t previously have the computer power for. This is a leap forward for medical imaging technology, for example digital radiography, x-ray CT, MRI and ultrasound,” says Professor of Bioengineering at UW’s Image Computing Systems Laboratory, Yongmin Kim.
Mayo Clinic and IBM (who manufacturer the PS3 processor) have already tested the benefits of the parallel computer architecture and memory bandwidth to dramatically speed up the processing of 3-D medical images. With the images properly aligned over one another, a radiologist can more easily detect structural changes such as the growth or shrinkage of tumors. “We’ve turned hours into seconds,” said IBM’s Shahrokh Daijavad.
And with IBM teaming up with game specialists Brazilian-based Hoplon Infotainment, this time integrating IBM’s better-known mainframe expertise with the PS3 Cell, the gaming technology is also being used to create super-fast virtual environment platform, with the potential to handle complex imaging simulations.
Colloborative work between Mercury Computer Systems and the Institute of Medical Physics in Germany underlines the benefit to patients, says the institute’s Professor Marc Kachelriess: “Analytical and statistical CT reconstruction algorithms that allow for enhanced image quality, while keeping the X-ray exposure of the patient as low as possible, can also be implemented on a Cell BE processor-based platform.”
Next stop for the PS3 chip is the forthcoming late July ‘Workshop on Solving Computational Challenges in Medical Imaging,’ where IBM and the University of Washington will show how next-generation technology currently featured in computer entertainment and video-processing platforms is helping drive advancements in medical imaging. It promises to be an interesting event.
Medicexchange.com is an online sales and information channel providing diagnostic, treatment and surgery planning solutions for breast, cardiac, musculoskeletal, abdominal-pelvic, thoracic and neuro imaging from a range of different software companies. The site provides these solutions in a low-cost, on-demand and digitally-downloadable format for medical imaging professionals, providing access to information and products that are traditionally difficult to access.
Medicexchange.com is owned and operated by Medicexchange Plc. Medicexchange Plc is a subsidiary company of MGT Capital Investments, Inc. Product and company information can be found on www.mgtci.com. Stock symbol: MGT.