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Ultrasound upgrade produces images that work like 3-D movies

images solve that problem by taking two "snapshots" of the same object from slightly different angles, mimicking the normal difference between left and right eye views.

Special glasses or goggles can then be used to fuse the two images into one, gaining a 3-D effect. This principle lies behind 3-D movies and the familiar Fisher Price View-Master toy. With practice, some people can "defocus" their eyes and fuse the paired images without the aid of any special viewing device. (Find out how at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stereoscopy.)

To demonstrate the new capability, the researchers first generated stereo ultrasound images of a small metal cage. They then advanced to ultrasound images in living animals of a heart valve and blood vessels and needle biopsies of the animals' brains and esophagi.

The researchers have since recorded ultrasound images of a model human fetus that is traditionally used in the testing of fetal ultrasound imaging devices. (Watch the video, including paired images of both the cage and model fetus, at http://youtube.com/watch?v=4VSRlH01mzg. See if you can fuse them without goggles.)

"Thousands of 3-D ultrasound systems in clinics could be upgraded with such new software, and stereoscopic goggles could be issued to them as well," Smith said. "Keepsake DVDs of the fetal exam could also be viewed at home in 3-D stereo."

The goggles would soon become obsolete, he added. New monitors capable of fusing stereo 3-D images without them are now in development.
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Source:Duke University


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