The fact that the image itself is produced in a centralized location and not on the measurement device has the potential to make technological advances in medical imaging processing continuously available to remote areas of the world, which despite their lack of sophisticated equipment in general often do have cell phone communication. (Indeed, it is estimated that more than 60 percent of all cell phones currently in use in the world are in developing countries.)
Rubinsky stresses the key economic benefits of this new method: By simplifying the apparatus at the patient site, it reduces the cost of medical imaging devices in general. It also removes the need for advanced imaging training of the personnel at the patient site.
The researchers chose electrical impedance tomography (EIT) to demonstrate the feasibility of using cell phones in medical imaging. EIT is based upon the principle that diseased tissue transmits electrical currents differently from healthy tissue. The difference in resistance from electrical currents is translated into an image, which can be transmitted via cell phone technology.
Utilizing commercially available parts, the research team built a simple data acquisition device for the experiment. The device had 32 stainless steel electrodes half to inject the electrical current and the other half to measure the voltage connected to a gel-filled container that simulated breast tissue with a tumor.
A total of 225 voltage measurements were taken and uploaded to a cell phone, which was hooked up to the device with a USB cable. The cell phone was then used to dial into a powerful central computer that contained software to process the packet of raw data that was transmitted. An image was then reconstructed and sent back to the cell phone for viewing. The researchers verified that the simulated tumor was clearly visible in the image, demonstrating the proof-of-principle that this system is feasible.'/>"/>
|Contact: Jerry Barach|
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem