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Chapter 1:
Introduction to Electronic Imaging Applications in Mobile Healthcare
Medical imaging is an essential technology in any healthcare system. Without performing any surgery, medical imaging can directly provide a visual representation of the internal structure of a human body hidden under skin and bones. It is based on the physical interaction between a particular stimulation and the human body. From the 1970s to the present, many imaging modalities have been developed; four of the most successful and widely used techniques are: radiography, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), ultrasound, and optical coherence tomography (OCT). Radiography was the first imaging technique to be used in modern medical systems. It utilizes x rays for image acquisition. MRI uses the fact that water molecules in human tissue radiate a harmless signal when they are stimulated by magnets to obtain the interior image of the body. Ultrasound imaging uses the ultrasound waves reflected from the tissue to produce an image. Ultrasound imaging is also a nonradiative imaging technique. The combination of medical imaging technologies and mobile devices has become a new area of research. This combination has made healthcare technology more flexible, effective, and easily accessed. For example, skin cancer detection by a smartphone gives everybody (not just doctors) the ability to monitor skin cancer themselves. In addition to skin cancer detection, an early diagnosis can be made directly by the smartphone.1 Mobile healthcare applications have taken two directions: one is the mobilization of the current medical imaging techniques, such as mobile ultrasound, mobile CT, mobile MRI, and so on; the other is the application of mobile equipment with embedded imaging functions for healthcare, such as skin cancer detection using a mobile phone. Much research has been published on both of these directions. This introductory chapter focuses mainly on the latter.
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