The Radiological Department of the Dr. Peset Aleixandre Hospital in Valencia will be the first user to test HIPERCIR, a new software package for 3D real time visualization and semi-automatic segmentation of medical images by means of high performance computing techniques. This helpful tool for both diagnosis and therapy has the great advantage of using low-cost parallel processing methods while running on standard Windows NT based PCs. The HIPERCIR (High Performance Computing Intergrated Radiology) project partners aim at offering an affordable but qualitative solution to small hospitals for easy to use 3D imagery without a need for expensive hardware.
The HIPERCIR programme has been developed by the Spanish Division of TTN (Technology Transfer Nodes), hosted at the University of Technology in Valencia, in co-operation with Navimetric, a young engineering company, specialized in high technology equipment for medical applications. The project started out in November 1997 and has a duration of eighteen months. Since modern clinics annually produce more than ten thousand volumetric images, originating from sources, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computed tomography (CT), nuclear medical imaging (NMI) or ultrasound (US), the demand for affordable computing techniques for 3D visualization and management is very urging.
The HIPERCIR project team benefits from already available resources to set up a parallel computing system to speed up the performance of visualization programmes. The researchers have applied the latest technology with regard to expert systems and knowledge bases to develop effective image treatment algorithms. As a result, the interaction with the user is strictly minimized in order to reduce the training time, which is needed to use the tool. Thus, the possibility of incomplete or misleading diagnosis practically can be avoided. The HIPERCIR tool provides essential functions, such as global localization and opaque or transparent 3D visualization options. The DICOM (Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine) standard is used as the image format for both input and output.
HIPERCIR allows the hospitals to simply reuse the computer infrastructure, which already is available, and usually consists of standard multitasking operating systems, like Windows NT, Windows 95 or Linux. The working time can be divided between the common use of this PC network and the HPCN visualization programme. As such, the hospital staff should be able to introduce innovative 3D imaging facilities without any supplementary costs to ease and speed up patient diagnosis in daily clinical use. The HIPERCIR Web site presents all the necessary information related to this ongoing project.