During the European IT Conference and Exhibition which took place in November 1997, the people responsible for NICE, one of the Esprit projects devoted to medicine, showed a video presentation of 3-D ultrasound scanning on the human body and on the human heart in particular. The realisation of real-time volumetric imaging will mean no less than a breakthrough in clinical diagnostics since conventional ultrasound systems only use linear, one-dimensional arrays.
The French and Norwegian partners in the NICE project are aiming to improve the quality of ultrasound images by using advanced transducer array technologies and data processing. Hitherto applied systems are only able to display images of a slice of the body due to the limited number of acquisition channels.
Focus control and spatial resolution can now be shown to their full advantage thanks to new two-dimensional transducer arrangements. NICE made use of data reconstructed from present acquisition technology during the exhibition but the final goal constitutes the achievement of real-time volumetric imaging by the end of 1999.