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  1. This work presents an interventional planning software to be used in conjunction with a robotic manipulator to perform transrectal MR guided prostate biopsies. The interventional software was designed taking in consideration a generic manipulator used under the two modes of operation: side-firing and end-firing of the biopsy needle. Studies were conducted with urologists using the software to plan virtual biopsies. The results show features of software relevant for operating efficiently under the two modes of operation.
  2. This work presents a novel deep learning architecture called BNU-Net for the purpose of cardiac segmentation based on short-axis MRI images. Its name is derived from the Batch Normalized (BN) U-Net architecture for medical image segmentation. New generations of deep neural networks (NN) are called convolutional NN (CNN). CNNs like U-Net have been widely used for image classification tasks. CNNs are supervised training models which are trained to learn hierarchies of features automatically and robustly perform classification. Our architecture consists of an encoding path for feature extraction and a decoding path that enables precise localization. We compare this approach with a parallel approach named U-Net. Both BNU-Net and U-Net are cardiac segmentation approaches: while BNU-Net employs batch normalization to the results of each convolutional layer and applies an exponential linear unit (ELU) approach that operates as activation function, U-Net does not apply batch normalization and is based on Rectified Linear Units (ReLU). The presented work (i) facilitates various image preprocessing techniques, which includes affine transformations and elastic deformations, and (ii) segments the preprocessed images using the new deep learning architecture. We evaluate our approach on a dataset containing 805 MRI images from 45 patients. The experimental results reveal that ourmore »approach accomplishes comparable or better performance than other state-of-the-art approaches in terms of the Dice coefficient and the average perpendicular distance.« less
  3. Heart disease is highly prevalent in developed countries, causing 1 in 4 deaths. In this work we propose a method for a fully automated 4D reconstruction of the left ventricle of the heart. This can provide accurate information regarding the heart wall motion and in particular the hemodynamics of the ventricles. Such metrics are crucial for detecting heart function anomalies that can be an indication of heart disease. Our approach is fast, modular and extensible. In our testing, we found that generating the 4D reconstruction from a set of 250 MRI images takes less than a minute. The amount of time saved as a result of our work could greatly benefit physicians and cardiologist as they diagnose and treat patients.
  4. The emerging potential of augmented reality (AR) to improve 3D medical image visualization for diagnosis, by immersing the user into 3D morphology is further enhanced with the advent of wireless head-mounted displays (HMD). Such information-immersive capabilities may also enhance planning and visualization of interventional procedures. To this end, we introduce a computational platform to generate an augmented reality holographic scene that fuses pre-operative magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) sets, segmented anatomical structures, and an actuated model of an interventional robot for performing MRI-guided and robot-assisted interventions. The interface enables the operator to manipulate the presented images and rendered structures using voice and gestures, as well as to robot control. The software uses forbidden-region virtual fixtures that alerts the operator of collisions with vital structures. The platform was tested with a HoloLens HMD in silico. To address the limited computational power of the HMD, we deployed the platform on a desktop PC with two-way communication to the HMD. Operation studies demonstrated the functionality and underscored the importance of interface customization to fit a particular operator and/or procedure, as well as the need for on-site studies to assess its merit in the clinical realm.
  5. Prostate biopsy is considered as a definitive way for diagnosing prostate malignancies. Urologists are currently moving towards MR-guided prostate biopsies over conventional transrectal ultrasound-guided biopsies for prostate cancer detection. Recently, robotic systems have started to emerge as an assistance tool for urologists to perform MR-guided prostate biopsies. However, these robotic assistance systems are designed for a specific clinical environment and cannot be adapted to modifications or changes applied to the clinical setting and/or workflow. This work presents the preliminary design of a cable-driven manipulator developed to be used in both MR scanners and MR-ultrasound fusion systems. The proposed manipulator design and functionality are evaluated on a simulated virtual environment. The simulation is created on an in-house developed interventional planning software to evaluate the ergonomics and usability. The results show that urologists can benefit from the proposed design of the manipulator and planning software to accurately perform biopsies of targeted areas in the prostate.