Advanced Imaging

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Advanced Imaging Magazine

Updated: January 12th, 2011 09:49 AM CDT

Extreme Design for Extreme Imaging

Rugged components, super-charged processing and ultra-compact form factors are meeting the challenges of imaging in harsh environments
Tapping the space- and energy-savings enabled by 45nm high-end processors, the newest COMs (computer-on-modules) are meeting even higher performance-per-watt standards, making them ideal for imaging environments with high demands on data processing and/or multi-media conversion and output.
Tapping the space- and energy-savings enabled by 45nm high-end processors, the newest COMs (computer-on-modules) are meeting even higher performance-per-watt standards, making them ideal for imaging environments with high demands on data processing and/or multi-media conversion and output.
Challenging remote imaging applications in the medical market are realizing the advantages of the performance, management functionality and high-availability features of MicroTCA.
Challenging remote imaging applications in the medical market are realizing the advantages of the performance, management functionality and high-availability features of MicroTCA.
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By Christine Van De Graaf and David Pursley, Kontron

COMs are small form factor modules that represent an entire computer host-complex. These off-the-shelf compact modules contain all primary PC functions (i.e., graphics, Ethernet, sound, COM and USB ports, or other system buses) and are then mounted onto carrier boards customized with application-specific I/O and power circuitry required for specific medical end-use. The custom designed carrier board is the only portion of the design that relates to the specific medical application, adding functionality required for any number of unique treatment or diagnostic procedures, such as medical imaging or capturing patient data such as blood pressure or heart rate. When higher performance is demanded, designers need only to swap out the existing CPU core and can maintain customization for generations or even within a single generation. Designers can use the same carrier board and simply incorporate a new module within the board.

CompactPCI for Rugged Imaging Applications

Military and aerospace designers have long appreciated CompactPCI’s standards-based, high performance, small form factor design. Combined with highly ruggedized connectors and a familiar PCI bus as a foundation for simplified software development, CompactPCI brings a lot to the table for demanding military imaging and surveillance applications. Today, this reputation for performance and rugged design is reaching more deeply into medical imaging applications as well, as designers in this arena are more frequently tapping CompactPCI for high computing performance, ruggedness and reliability.

Submarines, tanks, and naval ships use CompactPCI blades to process a lot of imaging data very effectively – and the same requirements apply for the wealth of medical imaging applications that are improving patient care and delivering detailed data in real-time to both patients and healthcare professionals.

By incorporating 45nm processor technology, today’s CompactPCI boards are achieving a new performance level. This multicore architecture increases CompactPCI’s data throughput significantly from earlier generations. The end result has potential impact on applications that existing technologies have been unable to address, and also means significant new prospects in terms of upgrading, streamlining and extending the life of deployed systems. For instance, an existing medical imaging system that uses 10 CompactPCI 2.16 single-core, single-slot boards could do the same computational work with just one dual-slot quad-core board. Imaging system designers seeking ultra-high-performance can design-in multiple quad-core CompactPCI processor boards for extremely data hungry applications.

In fact, today’s CompactPCI delivers powerful I/O throughput and distributed high processing capabilities that are making real changes in a broad range of imaging applications. Boards now have up to 25 percent faster core speeds (2.53 GHz), 50 percent more L2 cache (6MB) and a 60 percent faster FSB (1066 MHz) with similar energy consumption. With this kind of performance boost—and another on the way with 32nm—CompactPCI meets highly demanding signal and data processing requirements that come with new generations of imaging applications and high-end scanning technologies.



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