USB 3.0 in Medical Imaging

Building on the concepts developed for GigE Vision, the machine vision industry standardized the transport of high-speed imaging and video data over a USB 3.0 cable with the release of USB3 Vision in February 2013.

With USB3 Vision, video and data (including metadata for DICOM compliance) is transmitted from cameras and sensors to existing ports on a computer, laptops, or tablet over flexible USB 3.0 cabling. The USB 3.0 bus delivers throughput approaching 3.0 Gb/s over short distances, and is ideal for applications such as transmitting images from a microscope camera directly to a port on a laptop or tablet with plug-and-play ease.

For robot manufacturers, an off-the-shelf USB3 Vision interface shortens time-to-market and allows R&D resources to be focused on system design and data analysis. In the example shown in Figure 2, images from Sony block cameras used for inspection and navigation in a service robot are converted to USB3 Vision-compliant video streams. The video can then be transmitted over high-bandwidth, flexible, lower cost USB cables directly to ports on an integrated single-board computing platform. By eliminating PCIe (Peripheral Component Interconnect Express) frame grabbers within the robot, designers can reduce system complexity, component count, and costs. In addition, decreasing the weight and power consumption of the robot extends battery life, which translates into more patient visits between charges.

The Right Design Choice

Starting with the first clinical use of Xrays almost 120 years ago, medical imaging has played an ever-increasing role in healthcare. Today, almost all aspects of care, from initial examination, to surgery, and nursing, rely on real-time video to identify issues, make accurate diagnoses, and provide treatments.

While the video interface is a small part of an overall medical vision system, choosing the right interface will deliver significant design advantages for manufacturers, cost-savings for healthcare providers, and performance benefits to help improve patient comfort and care. Designing or upgrading medical imaging systems based on off-the-shelf GigE Vision and USB3 Vision interfaces allows manufacturers to shorten time-to-market, reduce risk, and lower system cost and complexity, while delivering interoperability and performance benefits to enhance the value of their solutions.

This article was written by Rudi Rincker, Vice President of Business Development, Pleora Technologies, Kanata, Ontario, Canada. For more information, Click Here .

Medical Design Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the July, 2014 issue of Medical Design Briefs Magazine.

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