Ultrasound has revolutionised prenatal medicine, but its monochromatic images can be difficult to interpret — even for trained operators. Now, with the help of next-gen rendering algorithms, doctors and expectant parents alike are getting an unprecedented real-time peek inside the womb.
The HDlive system, developed by Dr Bernard Benoit of the Princess Grace Hospital, Monaco, is a Dynamic Rendering Engine that produces detailed, anatomically accurate images from sonogram readings. The program not only applies realistic colour and skin texture, it also incorporates a virtual light source feature. This acts as a digital torch by calculating and applying shadows and light reflection to create a deeper, more defined 3D image. It also automatically tones down speckle, the interference pattern inherent to ultrasound — akin to television snow — which greatly enhances the clarity and readability of the image.
You can see an example of the virtual lightsource here:
"The imaging potential of these latest GE Healthcare innovations is unlike anything we've developed in the past," said Karl-Heinz Lumpi, General Manager of Women's Health Ultrasound for GE Healthcare, in a press statement. "Through the HDlive and Volume SRI [spreckle reduction imaging] technologies, we intend to make advanced women's health imaging through ultrasound more prevalent and accessible."
With this massive improvement in image quality, doctors are able to spot, diagnose, and treat potential issues far sooner than with conventional methods.
Pictures: Princess Grace Hospital