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Real-time ultrasound simulation using the GPU

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4 Author(s)
Gjerald, S.U. ; Dept. of Circulation & Med. Imaging, Norwegian Univ. of Sci. & Technol. (NTNU), Trondheim, Norway ; Brekken, R. ; Hergum, T. ; D'hooge, J.

Ultrasound simulators can be used for training ultrasound image acquisition and interpretation. In such simulators, synthetic ultrasound images must be generated in real time. Anatomy can be modeled by computed tomography (CT). Shadows can be calculated by combining reflection coefficients and depth dependent, exponential attenuation. To include speckle, a pre-calculated texture map is typically added. Dynamic objects must be simulated separately. We propose to increase the speckle realism and allow for dynamic objects by using a physical model of the underlying scattering process. The model is based on convolution of the point spread function (PSF) of the ultrasound scanner with a scatterer distribution. The challenge is that the typical field-of-view contains millions of scatterers which must be selected by a virtual probe from an even larger body of scatterers. The main idea of this paper is to select and sample scatterers in parallel on the graphic processing unit (GPU). The method was used to image a cyst phantom and a movable needle. Speckle images were produced in real time (more than 10 frames per second) on a standard GPU. The ultrasound images were visually similar to images calculated by a reference method.

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Ultrasonics, Ferroelectrics, and Frequency Control, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:59 ,  Issue: 5 )