3D-Computing Develops Medical Examination Technology with Altera FPGAs

9/30/2003 - Field programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) from Altera® Corporation (NASDAQ: ALTR) have enabled 3D-Computing, Inc. to develop a breakthrough medical technology — three-dimensional complete body screening (3D-CBS) — the two companies announced. 3D-CBS is expected to revolutionize the use of positron emission tomography (PET) technology by making it safe enough to use for routine preventative-measure patient examinations. 3D-Computing (www.3d-computing.com) uses Altera devices to accelerate the processing of the algorithms that allow this new technology to more accurately examine a patient’s body, using only 4 percent of the radiation they would receive in a traditional PET scan.

“Altera FPGAs were invaluable in delivering high performance and shorter time-to-market in the development of the 3D-CBS technology (patent pending),” said Dario Crosetto, inventor of this innovative technology and CEO of 3D-Computing. “Each photon detection board in the 3D-CBS system utilizes 20 Altera FPGAs to accelerate digital signal processing (DSP) functions, which play a crucial role in the system’s ability to reduce radiation to the patient, shortening examination times, and improving image quality. Each 3D-CBS system can have potentially over 100 boards, so another critical factor in our choice of Altera was their HardCopyTM device family, which allows us to significantly reduce our volume manufacturing costs.”

Preventive-measure full-body screening of a healthy person using current PET technology is inadvisable because of the dangers of radiation overexposure. Current PET technology is also very slow and costly, making its routine use prohibitive in a time of rising medical costs. The 3D-CBS system more accurately captures a greater number of the photons emitted from the traces medium when a patient is scanned. As a result, the patient’s level of radiation exposure is reduced, and image quality is improved.

Altera devices are used in a variety of applications in the 3D-CBS system, the most important of which is a unique DSP architecture called 3D-FlowTM. This proprietary architecture uses a matrix of Altera devices to perform the high-speed processing required to more accurately and effectively capture the photons emitted from a patient’s body during an examination.

“The 3D-CBS system highlights the power that programmable logic has to enable innovation in medical technologies that improve the quality of our lives,” said Jeff Lamparter, director of Altera’s industrial business unit. “Our FPGAs deliver both the flexibility and performance that designers need to rapidly and cost-effectively implement the DSP functions that are a critical part of today’s advanced medical imaging and examination products.”

About 3D-Computing
3D-Computing, Inc. is pioneering in real-time acquisition and processing technology from thousands of signals received at hundreds of million events per second. The patent architecture is also suitable to break speed barriers in real-time applications for image processing. More information is available at www.3d-computing.com.

About Altera
Celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, Altera Corporation (NASDAQ: ALTR) is the world’s pioneer in system-on-a-programmable-chip (SOPC) solutions. Combining programmable logic technology with software tools, intellectual property, and technical services, Altera provides high-value programmable solutions to approximately 14,000 customers worldwide. More information is available at www.altera.com.

Altera, The Programmable Solutions Company, the stylized Altera logo, specific device designations and all other words that are identified as trademarks and/or service marks are, unless noted otherwise, the trademarks and service marks of Altera Corporation in the U.S. and other countries. 3D-Flow is a trademark of 3D-Computing, Inc.

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