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article imageSuper chip provides real-time images of the heart

By Tim Sandle     Feb 24, 2014 in Health
Scientists have developed a catheter-based device that can provide forward-looking, real-time, three-dimensional imaging from inside the heart, coronary arteries, and peripheral blood vessels.
The device integrates ultrasound electronics on a single 1.4 millimeter silicon chip, according to the research note. The chip allows data from more than a hundred elements on the device to be transmitted using just 13 tiny cables. This allows the chip to easily travel through blood vessels.
The device was complex to develop. This is because operating inside blood vessels requires devices that are small and flexible enough to travel through the circulatory system. Furthermore, the micro-chips must also be able to operate in blood. The chip was developed at the Georgia Tech School of Electrical and Computer Engineering.
Using animal studies, the scientists have developed and tested a prototype able to provide image data at 60 frames per second. The research team hope to move onto human trials soon.
The advantage of the new device is that is should better guide surgeons working in the heart, and potentially allow more of patients’ clogged arteries to be cleared without major surgery. Most of the devices being used for this today provide only cross-sectional images of average quality, the chip offers a new realm of high-definition images.
The chip has been described in the journal Transactions on Ultrasonics, Ferroelectrics and Frequency Control. The paper is titled “Single-Chip CMUT-on-CMOS Front-end System for Real-Time Volumetric IVUS and ICE Imaging.”
More about Chip, micro chip, Nanotechnology, Heart, Surgery
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