QNX Neutrino RTOS Enables Oxford Brookes to Develop Medical Imaging

6/17/2003 - England's prestigious Oxford Brookes University is developing an advanced clinical imaging system that will give doctors a new means to monitor the condition of immobile patients.

Based on QNX Software Systems' highly reliable QNX® Neutrino® RTOS, the system passes small, high-frequency electric currents through 64 sensors placed over a patient's body. The resulting voltage data is used to create a two-dimensional picture of tissue impedance, which refreshes at 25 images per second. This means that QNX Neutrino must be fast and robust to ensure that the resulting measurements are accurate and can be analysed.

The solution is particularly beneficial to sufferers of lung disease, who often develop fluid accumulations and cannot be moved to an X-ray or MRI scanner. The electronic impedance tomography solution improves the way doctors are able to care for such patients.

Now, thanks to the success of the first phase of development, the research team has embarked on the creation of a modular system. This approach, facilitated by the microkernel architecture of the QNX Neutrino OS, will offer better imaging resolution and will allow for full 3D imaging. When finalised, the solution will offer a safe, continuous, low-cost and effective means of monitoring patient progress.

"As well as wanting to base our research and development on a highly reliable, scalable and fault-tolerant solution, we also required ease of use and intuitive interfaces," said Chris McLeod, professor of electronics and medical instrumentation at Oxford Brookes. "The nature of academic research is that students are often appointed for a set time and then move on to other projects. We chose QNX Neutrino as it enables users to focus on developing and improving the system, rather than on getting to grips with how the underlying operating system that runs the project works.

"Because its software is so robust, QNX Neutrino also gives us the confidence that the equipment we develop should simply not let critically ill patients down," McLeod continued.

The research project is being funded by the EPSRC (Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council) and will run for a further two years. The systems will be used in intensive care in Oxford in collaboration with staff in the Nuffield Department of Anaesthetics during the latter part of 2003 and through 2004.

About QNX Software Systems
Founded in 1980, QNX Software Systems is the industry leader in realtime, microkernel OS technology. The inherent reliability, scalable architecture, and proven performance of the QNX Neutrino RTOS make it the most trusted foundation for future-ready applications in the networking, automotive, medical, and industrial automation markets. Companies worldwide like Cisco, Ford, Johnson Controls, Siemens, and Texaco depend on the QNX technology for their mission- and life-critical applications. Headquartered in Ottawa, Canada, QNX Software Systems maintains offices in North America, Europe, and Asia, and distributes its products in more than 100 countries worldwide. Visit www.qnx.com.

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