WinProbe was founded with the vision that the ideal ultrasonic scanner could be produced with a personal computer with a graphics programming unit (GPU) and a single, large, Field Programmable Gate Array chip.
The ultrasound market has reached a volume where multiple integrated circuit manufacture pulsers and ultrasound receiver front ends at a cost and performance that cannot be matched with discreet designs.
This design should allow the CPU, The GPU and the FPGA to share the same memory by Direct Memory Access (DMA) over a bus called Peripheral Component Interconnect Express (PCIe).
The product would attain:
Upgradeable by software only
This idea is now realized in the product line called the UltraVision.
The single FPGA concept allows the design to be contained and thus completely redesigned within reprogramable code. The code in an FPGA performs hardware functions much the same as chips on a printed circuit board except it does so by instantiating VHDL code that performs the basic tasks of inputing the data from the ADC's, interpolating, beamforming, apodizing, frequency filtering, Hilbert Transforming, data and parameter storage much like a computer but much, much faster. These basic functions are combined to provide the functions of B-Mode, Color Flow Doppler-Mode, Pulsed Wave Doppler-Mode, M-Mode, Compression Elastography-Mode, Acoustic Radiation Force Impulse and Shear Wave velocity analysis and virtually any new mode that can be thought of without physical hardware changes.
The code in an FPGA can be changed at any time by the personal computer (PC) without the need to change any physical feature and so can be done to enhance features throughout the life of the system, which now may be expected to be very long . Another of the many advantages of this concept is that many pieces of high speed hardware can be instantiated in parallel to outperform any other technology when needed and later the resources can be rededicated to other tasks. An example of this is cross-correlation which is used for color flow Doppler and Elastography where it is instantiated many times to achieve real time processing.
Founded in 1999, WinProbe Corporation began exploring the concept of creating an entire scanner inside a Field Programmable Gate Array chip, and the initial hardware was created. At that time, Field Programmable Gate Arrays were promising but not quite yet capable of performing all the tasks required in the single chip concept. Today, the chosen FPGA has over 4 Billion transistors and being a high end (high cost) silicon device the manufacturer invests great care in its construction and testing. In turn, WinProbe takes great care in supplying reliable power supplies and protection for the FPGA's operation. Thus the probability that a system would fail during the systems life is extremely rare.
Support for the development of the intellectual property was secured by a number of grants from the National Institutes of Health in the fields of ultrasound transducer development and elastography which are now features of WinProbe's products. These projects allowed WinProbe to develop the necessary ultrasound image preparation skills for the FPGA and the capabilities in image construction in Direct X (the language of Graphic Processing Units), and familiarization with the commercial application specific chips for the analog functions of transmitting and receiving ultrasound, which became available.
UltraVision Corporation: 11770 US Highway 1, Suite 302E, Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, 33408-3054 Tel: (561) 626-4055 Info@winprobe.com
UltraVision Corporation is an accredited ISO13485:2016 / ISO 9001: 2015 manufacturer of medical ultrasound systems