Creating images of the interior of the human body is a crucial ingredient to modern medical diagnostics. Unfortunately, equipment for such medical imaging is typically bulky and expensive to buy, operate, and maintain. At points where care is given most frequently, such as at the general practitioner’s office, in an ambulance, emergency room, or a nursing home, medical imaging is therefore largely absent today. While small, portable ultrasound scanners could revolutionize this situation and bring affordable and side-effect-free ultrasound to the point of care, widespread adoption of such devices has not happened yet. This is mostly due to the large amount of training required to confidently operate ultrasound scanners, which poses an unreasonable investment for less experienced, occasional users. The vision of this project is to create an Intelligent Hand-held Ultrasound Device – INHUD – that visually assists healthcare professionals with little or no ultrasound experience in the device’s operation and in their clinical decision making. Our ambition is to offer a new hand-held imaging solution which opens the door to ultrasound for occasional users and provides significantly increased productivity and diagnostic confidence also for more experienced ones. The most important R&D challenges we together with our partner SINTEF expect to address in this project are - to gain a spatial understanding of the scanned area, - to perform intelligent full-body anatomy labelling in scanned ultrasound images, - to intelligently visualize regions of medical interest, - to provide visual aid for probe handling to the user, - and to do all that without noticeable lag with respect to probe movement.
Project leader: Trond Kierulf
Institution: GE VINGMED ULTRASOUND AS