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Three Dimension Ultrasound Imaging

Early 2D scanners were built from a single transducer, mounted on a "dentist's drill" type articulated arm which measured its position. It took about 20 seconds to scan the transducer across the body to build up a single 2D image from many thin strips. This procedure was superseded by the construction of arrays of transducer elements so that the beam could be steered electronically across the body to build up the picture.

History is now repeating itself. Our current freehand 3D system works by measuring the position of a 2D probe to build up a 3D data block, just as the early scanners measured the position of a 1D probe to build up a 2D image. The only difference is that we use a magnetic position sensor in place of the articulated arm. In time, we anticipate the development of 2D transducer arrays which will permit real-time 3D acquisition. Our visualisation and volume measurement tools are already mature and waiting to be exploited by this new technology.

Richard Prager
Andrew Gee