Ziehm Imaging and Mercury Computer Systems accelerate 3D medical image reconstruction by a factor of 40X

Nuremberg 24 November 2004Mercury Computer Systems Inc. and Ziehm Imaging GmbH presented the first results of their ongoing alliance to increase performance and quality in 3D image reconstruction and visualization for mobile C-arm X-ray systems. These systems are used for minimally invasive and interventional procedures in urology, neurology, orthopaedics, and surgery.


Ziehm is leveraging Mercury VisageRT 3D imaging software and acceleration hardware to gain the full potential of their C-arm solutions, which deliver uncompromised clinical mobility through effortless movement and a unique single-lever rear-wheel steering and braking control. As a result, the newly available generation of Ziehm's Vario3D C-arm systems enables surgeons and physicians to obtain high-resolution, very high-quality images from only a small set of low-dose X-ray projections in a shorter time frame. The new systems accelerate the reconstruction process by a factor of more than 40X.

"The Vario3D system sets new standards in image quality and reconstruction speed for mobile C-arms", stated Dr. Jorg Peter Strobel, managing director of Ziehm Imaging GmbH. "This solution effectively enhances physicians' productivity and reduces patient treatment time, and thus greatly improves clinical work flow for our customers."

Mercury offers a comprehensive portfolio of imaging solutions for life sciences OEMs, including embedded software and hardware components, turnkey applications, and acceleration platforms. Besides impressive results in image quality and computational acceleration, Mercury's embedded solution enables Ziehm to bring this innovative technology to clinics and hospitals in a timely manner, and with greatly reduced engineering effort and risk.

"To achieve this impressive acceleration for the Ziehm system, we used our VisageRT embedded software in combination with a graphics processing unit (GPU)", stated Malte Westerhoff, CTO of Life Sciences, Imaging and Visualization Solutions at Mercury Computer Systems. "Our customized software API abstracts from the GPU details, and thus helps to achieve optimal performance and at the same time seamless integration into the Ziehm framework. This powerful combination allowed Ziehm to leverage the impressive GPU performance with minimal effort and within a minimal time frame."

Mercury recently introduced the VisageRT family of software components for accelerated, embedded visualization and reconstruction of medical image data. Designed for seamless integration into existing system frameworks of life sciences OEM customers, VisageRT software leverages the power of mainstream processors and accelerators to deliver increased performance and enhanced image quality, and is an integral offering in Mercury's portfolio of advanced 3D imaging and visualization solutions.

"With the VisageRT offering, we enable our customers to keep pace with the tremendous amount of data that is created by today's diagnostic and interventional imaging devices such as CT, MR, digital X-ray, SPECT, PET, and ultrasound", stated Marcelo G. Lima, vice president of Life Sciences, Imaging and Visualization Solutions, Mercury Computer Systems. "By building upon off-the-shelf software and hardware components, time to market and engineering cost for our customers are drastically reduced. Furthermore, VisageRT-based solutions scale from software-only to multiple GPU- or FPGA-based solutions, to provide the optimal balance of value and performance."

The VisageRT offering is available as a suite of pure software components, and can be packaged as optimized solutions with compute platforms or acceleration hardware such as graphics processing units (GPUs) or field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs). VisageRT volume-rendering components include the most advanced visualization techniques such as multi-planar reformatting and thick slab rendering, maximum intensity projection, shaded volume rendering, shaded surface display, flexible clipping, and perspective viewing. Multi-resolution representation for large data is supported to ensure smooth interaction with the 3D images at all times in the resulting application.

The VisageRT image reconstruction components support a multitude of state-of-the-art algorithms such as Fourier techniques, Pi methods, algebraic reconstruction technique (ART), and expectation maximization (EM). A customized application programming interface (API) allows seamless integration into existing frameworks and systems. VisageRT solutions are available for both 32-bit and 64-bit Microsoft Windows and Linux platforms. Dedicated to the special requirements of medical and biotechnology OEMs, Mercury's life sciences imaging and visualization solutions are personalized and customized at all levels, and can be further enhanced with its comprehensive professional services.

As a testament to both companies' commitment to continuous innovation and improvement, Ziehm and Mercury have begun development of the next generation of visualization solutions for 3D C-arm systems. Employing more of Mercury's scalable software and acceleration platforms, Ziehm's future systems are expected to provide even faster performance, and offer advanced visualization methods such as shaded colour volume rendering, that will help physicians to better identify small detail and understand complex spatial relationships.

The mobile C-Arms of Ziehm Imaging GmbH are well-known for the fact to use state-of-the-art technologies for mobile X-ray image distribution systems. Based on competency and creativity as well as in close co-operation with hospitals, hospital personnel and suppliers the company developed solutions that offer a not-yet-seen level of "functionality, mobility and network capabilities". Its worldwide presence with sites in Nuremberg, Germany; Riverside, USA; Reggio, Italy; and Singapore, Asia guarantees competent and reliable service and fast customer support.

Mercury Computer Systems Inc. is a provider of high-performance embedded, real-time digital signal and image processing solutions. Mercury's products play a critical role in a wide range of applications, transforming sensor data to information for analysis and interpretation. In military reconnaissance and surveillance platforms the company's systems process real-time radar, sonar, and signals intelligence data. Mercury's systems are also used in state-of-the-art medical diagnostic imaging devices including MRI, CT, PET, and digital X-ray, and in semiconductor imaging applications including photomask generation and wafer inspection.

Mercury provides advanced 3D image processing and visualization software and optimized systems to diverse end markets including life sciences, geosciences, and simulation. The company also provides radio frequency (RF) products for enhanced communications capabilities in military and commercial applications. Based in Chelmsford, Massachusetts, Mercury serves customers in North America, Europe and Asia through its direct sales force and a network of subsidiaries and distributors.

Leslie Versweyveld

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