Medical imaging equipment is taking on an increasingly critical role in healthcare as the industry strives to lower patient costs and achieve earlier disease prediction using noninvasive means. To provide the functionality needed to meet these industry goals, equipment developers are turning to programmable logic devices such as Altera’s FPGAs.

Earlier prediction and treatment are driving the fusion of modalities such as positron emission tomography (PET)/computerized tomography (CT) and X-ray/CT equipment. The higher image resolutions that are needed require fine geometry micro-array detectors coupled with sophisticated software/hardware systems for the analysis of photonic and electronic signals. These systems must provide both highly accurate and extremely fast processing of large amounts of image data (up to 250 GMACS and 1 Gbps). Furthermore, to lower patient costs, each piece of equipment must be lower priced and possess a longer life utility. This calls for more flexible systems with the capability to continually update features and algorithms over the equipment’s lifetime. Together, flexible algorithm deployment and modality fusion compel the use of programmable system electronic components, such as high-powered CPUs and FPGAs.

Several factors should be considered in the efficient development of flexible medical imaging equipment:….

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