In this content, we finish the presentation of the Elemaster case history related to the creation of algorithms for the implementation of digital image analysis for diagnostic purposes. As you well remember, the project had reached the clinical trial stage, thanks to the creation of more consolidated prototypes from a technical point of view.
The tests have highlighted the need to further refine the algorithms, in order to obtain a higher precision in the image processing, as well as a better usability of the image itself from a diagnostic point of view. An unexpected technical obstacle presented itself: initially, a technology with color images was developed. However, black / white – standard in radiographic practice – is also used by experienced medical personnel for the identification of neoplastic formations. For this reason, the definition of the image and the depth of the colors had not been fully appreciated. It was therefore decided to develop the software to allow a double display: color images and black / white images, leaving the doctor the possibility to choose the most suitable mode.
Diagnosis through images
Diagnostic imaging is the discipline that deals with the techniques through which images are obtained, providing diagnostic, morphological and functional information related to organs and systems of the body. In practice, it is an evolution of radiology, the discipline that studies the applications of radiation in the medical scientific field. Diagnostic imaging provides useful information both for the initial diagnostic approach and for the choice of therapy, both for studying the evolution of diseases over time and for verifying the effectiveness of therapies. This discipline can also be useful in screening programs, or for the early detection of neoplasms. In addition to morpho-structural information, imaging techniques can provide further functional data.
Elemaster’s project aims to develop and propose technological solutions for innovative diagnostic instruments that can be used in imaging, starting from the use of gamma rays and ultrasounds.
Elemaster had never addressed these topics. Thanks to its own experiences, especially recent in terms of study and experimentation, the company wanted to start two new lines of study useful for proposing new solutions in the medical sector.
Large monitors, wireless transmissions
A particularly important aspect in the development of the project concerns the ability to view the image on other monitors (remember that the diagnostic equipment is portable and equipped with a display proportionate to the size of the equipment itself). It was therefore decided to intervene so that it was possible to transfer images to larger displays (such as PC monitors). In this way, the images can be analyzed and discussed by the entire medical health team. Another important development involved wireless transmission, to allow efficient communication between the instrument and the PC. In this process, data protection from the point of view of cybersecurity is particularly interesting. This need led Elemaster to deepen knowledge in this sector to achieve the desired protection.
Possible future developments
During the experimentation, the need arose to have a greater number of image measurement points. This report came from only one experimenter, and for now we are waiting for others to be added to continue. An increase in the reading points involves the need to enlarge the size of the sensor and, as regards the algorithm, to increase the reading capacity (number of measurable pixels). Obviously, this fact would also have consequences on the software as a whole. These considerations may lead to further development of diagnostic investigations.
Achievement of goals
“Success is a consequence, not a goal”. (Gustave Flaubert)
The activity described is an experimental development project. Its distinctive features can be summarized as follows:
- Announcements: current technology offers large, low resolution and difficult portability diagnostic machines. Elemaster innovation consists in the study of solutions aimed at creating portable, battery-powered, wireless, high-resolution instruments;
- Creativity: the solutions under study are also applicable to other areas of the medical sector, with national interest;
- Transferability / reproducibility: the process and experiences surrounding the project can be used in other sectors of the Elemaster market.
Digital diagnostics for biomedical imaging
As for the economic objectives, the project aims to develop instruments that produce images also through sensors that operate with radiation with different lengths. This project represents Elemaster’s strategic desire to systematically penetrate the market of the digital diagnostics for biomedical images.