Field Programmable Gate Array
The UltraVision design is in three parts:
1) The Personal Computer (PC), which contains the user interface for selecting the ultrasound modes; freezing , saving , recording, zooming, and calculating the parameters for optimizing the images.
2) The Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) uses its hundreds of cores to process the acoustic lines into smooth speckle reduced images.
3) The Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) processes the transmit pulses and returning backscatter (echoes) into the acoustic lines with the features required for grayscale or Doppler or Elastography analysis.
WinProbe has optimized the high speed acoustic line processing tasks of an ultrasonic scanner into code that is loaded into a single very large (FPGA) chip. The benefits of a single chip is that it is reconfigured by the code to perform new tasks in seconds without the need for any physical hardware changes. Once WinProbe carefully designed the Ultrasound Application Specific Chips (UASC) around the FPGA the hardware design can be completely controlled by the software in the PC.
The code in the FPGA behaves like hardware as it connects electronic circuits that inputs high speed digital data directly from analog to digital converters that are connected to each element of the piezo array transducer and then performs the functions of beam-forming, deriving the analytic signal for signal magnitude in B-Mode, autocorrelated Doppler signals for color flow processing and the cross-correlated signals for Elastography.
This single FPGA chip which contains over 4 billion transistors, is interfaced directly to the Peripheral Component Interconnect Express (PCIe) to the laptop computer. This facilitates Direct Memory Access of the parameters and data between, the PC, the Graphics Processing Unit, and the FPGA at rates of up to 1600 Mega Bytes per second.
Priced in the very high end of the silicon chip market this FPGA chip is subjected to such extensive testing at the silicon level it can be expected to perform optimally and unserviced throughout the entire life of the scanner.
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