Patent number 8643668 is assigned to Lifeimage (
The following quote was obtained by the news editors from the background information supplied by the inventors: "Physicians around the world access medical images to help diagnose and treat patients and disease, to collaborate with colleagues and to provide decision support and education. Physicians display medical images at various locations including hospitals, doctor's offices, and on various devices including but not limited to high resolution special purpose displays, PCs, cell phones, PDAs, etc.
"Clinical quality images can be 12 bits of depth or more, and can be displayed with 4096 or more shades of gray. This broad grayscale range permits miniscule pathological or structural abnormalities (such as tumors, calcifications, and fractures) to be viewable to the human eye for diagnostic purposes. Providing sufficient grayscale reproduction on web-based platforms presents challenges. Many existing solutions require an operating platform (e.g. Windows, Mac, and Linux) specific implementation (e.g.
In addition to the background information obtained for this patent, VerticalNews journalists also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent: "Conventional techniques which typically rely on special purpose hardware and software that enable interactive manipulation of medical images, for example
"For example, one type of conventional viewer relies on software that requires a proprietary downloadable 'client' to the user's computer. When used inside a hospital, this approach requires the endorsement of hospital IT departments who will have to support the downloadable client. Furthermore, continuous tone, clinical quality images can have 12 to 16 or more bits of depth, and some clinical review applications require the ability to visualize subsets of that range at full fidelity. Some commercial rendering engines, for example the Adobe.RTM. Flash.RTM. player, are designed and optimized to handle true-color images which are only capable of operating on and rendering 8-bits of continuous tone pixel data. Medical imaging viewers based only on these engines may be limited to too few shades of gray for diagnostic purposes. Furthermore, these viewers will not perform interactive manipulations sufficiently fast enough for clinical use.
"Techniques discussed herein deviate with respect to conventional applications such as those discussed above as well as additional techniques also known in the prior art. In particular, embodiments herein enable a user to view relatively high bit depth images and interact with the display of these images for diagnostic review operable in such limited environments as those described above. Examples of these environments are available on standard personal computers and mobile devices with commercially available rendering engines.
"For example, a technique as further described herein involves acquiring a first image having a first bit depth, generating sub-range image sets, where each set includes sub-range images at a second bit depth and selecting a sub-range image for display. The technique further includes performing pixel calculations on the selected sub-range image in a rendering engine operable to perform pixel calculation on the selected sub-range image at the second bit depth and displaying the image using the rendering engine. Such a technique provides accelerated calculations which allow interactive display of certain per-pixel calculations on images having a depth of more than 8 bits per pixel.
"Another technique includes enabling interactive visualization of certain medically relevant calculations on continuous-tone digital images. More specifically, the method leverages generally available, rendering engines capable of performing optimized 8-bit
"When performing calculations on a source image that has no more than 8-bits per pixel, interactive calculations are achieved with available optimized 8-bit RGB operations. When the source image has more than 8-bits per pixel, simple mechanisms that map to 8-bits will not correctly handle calculations (and therefore visualization) on sub-ranges of the image. One example of this problem occurs in medical imaging; when visualizing a 'Value of Interest' linear transformation on the pixel data (generally referred to as Windowing and Leveling).
"One example is the visualization of a typical CT image of the head which may include 12-bits per pixel (an image depth of 12-bits). If users are interested in visualizing slight variations in tissue density as is found in the human brain, then a linear transform of the image is required to focus in on a narrow range of pixel values from the source image. Using a direct linear mapping from the full 12 bit range to an 8 bit image will result in significant loss of grayscale values that would otherwise be available in the original source image. Brute force calculations are possible, but due to the number of calculations for typical images this approach does not produce an interactive visualization experience that is acceptable for medical imaging and display.
"Yet other embodiments herein include software programs to perform the steps and operations summarized above and disclosed in detail below. One such embodiment comprises a computer program product that has a computer-readable medium including computer program logic encoded thereon that, when performed in a computerized device having a coupling of a memory and a processor and a display, programs the processor to perform the operations disclosed herein. Such arrangements are typically provided as software, code and/or other data (e.g., data structures) arranged or encoded on a computer readable medium such as an optical medium (e.g., CD-ROM), floppy or hard disk or other a medium such as firmware or microcode in one or more ROM or RAM or PROM chips or as an Application Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC). The software or firmware or other such configurations can be installed onto a computerized device to cause the computerized device to perform the techniques explained herein."
URL and more information on this patent, see: Gerade, Graham D.; Tabatabaie, Hamid; Vreeland, Amy J.. Medical Imaging Viewer. U.S. Patent Number 8643668, filed
Keywords for this news article include: Hospital, Software, Lifeimage.
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