Hack your way to Ultrasound Imaging

Hack your way to Ultrasound Imaging

Technology News |
By Wisse Hettinga

Around 94 people around the world contribute to this Open Source project

from the project website:

This project has a specific target of providing a low-cost, open source technological kit to allow scientists, academics, hackers, makers or OSHW fans to hack their way to ultrasound imaging – below 500$ – at home, with no specific equipment required.

The aim of this project is to build a small ultrasound imaging hardware and software development kit, with the specific goal of:

    • building an analog “debugging tool” to explore ultrasound imaging systems.
    • consolidating existing hardware research;
    • simplifing / lowering the cost of the kit;
    • providing a benchmark of ultrasound systems;
    • introducing a simple API to control hardware;
    • having a server which provides raw ultrasound data, and for ultrasound imaging, can deliver standard DICOM files;
    • having a kit that can be used for pedagogical and academic purposes – not to mention people who want to understand ultrasound!

The project kit consists of several modules mainly built from easily available components – after a short benchmark of existing ICs. Two electronic modules were specifically designed to provide the basic development kit.

    • the Transducer Pulser Module (TPM): designed to provide a precise high-voltage pulse, necessary to excite the sensor, while remaining robust enough to be controlled by an Arduino;
    • the Analog Processing Module (APM): designed to correctly process the raw ultrasound electric signal, while easily exposing all intermediary signals, and exposing a digital output to the user
    • the RPi high-speed ADC uses two interleaved AD9200, clocked with the RPi, which reads at 11Msps, leading to an effective 22Msps acquisition speed (bottleneck being the RPi copying the ADC values through the GPIOs register to RAM). The signals can be read as is (eg in case of analog enveloppe detection) or offset by Vref/2 (to acquire the raw signal). Due to the GPIO necessary to run the modules, we are left with 2×9 GPIO left, resulting in a 22Msps, 9 bit ADC. One or two logic signals can additionaly be sampled – for an external motor hall sensor for example.

A modular approach was chosen to ensure that each key component inside the ultrasound image processing can easily be replaced and compared with another module. Each electronic module takes the place of a function in the signal processing chain or allows tapping into the different signals circulating between the blocks.

Previous experiments have been done, to get images using different digital acquisition systems, such as a bitscope, a STM32, or a high-speed ADC for beaglebone. The Raspberry Pi was retained in the end for its ease of use, its price, and community working on it – increasing the potential reach of the project.

Find all the information here



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