16 March 2006 A scalable beamforming architecture for real-time 3D ultrasonic imaging using nonuniform sampling
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Real-time acquisition of 3D volumes is an emerging trend in medical imaging. True real-time 3D ultrasonic imaging is particularly valuable for echocardiography and trauma imaging as well as an intraoperative imaging technique for surgical navigation. Since the frame rate of ultrasonic imaging is fundamentally limited by the speed of sound, many schemes of forming multiple receive beams with a single transmit event have been proposed. With the advent of parallel receive beamforming, several architectures to form multiple (4-8) scan lines at a time have been suggested. Most of these architectures employ uniform sampling and input memory banks to store the samples acquired from all the channels. Some recent developments like crossed electrode array, coded excitation, and synthetic aperture imaging facilitate forming an entire 2D plane with a single transmit event. These techniques are speeding up frame rate to eventually accomplish true real-time 3D ultrasonic imaging. We present an FPGA-based scalable architecture capable of forming a complete scan plane in the time it usually takes to form a single scan line. Our current implementation supports 32 input channels per FPGA and up to 128 dynamically focused beam outputs. The desired focusing delay resolution is achieved using a hybrid scheme, with a combination of nonuniform sampling of the analog channels and linear interpolation for nonsparse delays within a user-specified minimum sampling interval. Overall, our pipelined architecture is capable of processing the input RF data in an online fashion, thereby reducing the input storage requirements and potentially providing better image quality.
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Omkar Dandekar, Carlos R. Castro-Pareja, Raj Shekhar, "A scalable beamforming architecture for real-time 3D ultrasonic imaging using nonuniform sampling", Proc. SPIE 6147, Medical Imaging 2006: Ultrasonic Imaging and Signal Processing, 61470M (16 March 2006); doi: 10.1117/12.653714; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.653714

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