Open source matlab toolbox for three-dimensional ultrasound imaging

Lead Research Organisation: University College London
Department Name: Medical Physics and Biomedical Eng


This EPSRC Overseas Travel Grant will start a new international collaboration between the Department of Medical Physics and Bioengineering at the University College London (UCL) and LabTAU of the Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale (INSERM; Lyon, France). The collaboration will result in the development of the world's first open-source Matlab toolbox for acquiring three-dimensional (3D) ultrasound images, and the application of this toolbox to two specific problems: validation of numeric models of ultrasound wave propagation through heterogeneous biological tissue, and visualisation of High Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU) lesion formation through ultrasonically-induced Lorentz force measurements.

Planned Impact

* Background and Context

Clinical ultrasound imaging systems are rapidly evolving to incorporate more powerful processors and faster electronics, and there is strong potential for these advances in hardware to be translated into clinical and economic benefits. For these benefits to be realised, however, it is essential that the hardware can be accessed by a wide range of innovators in academia and industry. Traditionally, the software required to communicate with hardware was available only to a small group of programmers in large medical imaging companies. With the advent of research-grade ultrasound imaging systems that provide more open access to hardware - including hardware for three-dimensional (3D) imaging - it is possible to have open-source software for accessing this hardware that can be used by a wide range of innovators. While the hardware of research-grade ultrasound imaging systems has reached a very advanced state, the corresponding software is at an early stage of development.

This EPSRC overseas travel grant is focused on starting a new collaboration between UCL and INSERM to significantly extend an open source software toolbox - the "TexoMatlab" toolbox - so that it will enable the acquisition of 3D images with research-grade ultrasound imaging system hardware. As such, the new TexoMatlab toolbox will greatly simplify access to ultrasound imaging system hardware.

* Impact on the Economy

New innovations in ultrasound imaging systems will lead directly to new products. Like personal computers, ultrasound imaging systems are programmable; they can perform a wide range of functions. The new TexoMatlab toolbox will allow for innovators to program novel methods for acquiring and processing 3D images with research-grade ultrasound imaging systems much more efficiently. Successful prototypes can often be rapidly translated into products by existing ultrasound imaging companies.

* Impact on Society

Ultrasound imaging systems are central to many different clinical procedures, and the quality of ultrasound images has a direct impact on the procedure outcome. With improved image quality, abnormalities such as tumours can be visualised more accurately, and medical devices can be positioned more efficiently. The new TexoMatlab toolbox will increase the speed at which improvements in ultrasound image quality take place.

* Empowering Medical Physics Researchers

To maintain a competitive edge and a strong capacity to innovate, it is critical to empower medical physics researchers in the UK and overseas. The collaboration between UCL and INSERM that will be enabled by this EPSRC Overseas Travel Grant is a step in this direction: it will provide new contexts in which ideas about ultrasound imaging system software can be created and exchanged.

* Extending and Sharing Knowledge

The new TexoMatlab toolbox will provide immediate benefits to the ultrasound imaging research community. Developed as open source software, it will be made available as a free download in two academic locations: at INSERM and at UCL. Additionally, it will be made available at Ultrasonix (, where the current version of the toolbox resides together with other open-source ultrasound imaging software. The new TexoMatlab toolbox will be kept up to date, with new functionality added as the hardware of research-grade ultrasound imaging systems evolves.


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Description With this grant, a new set of software tools for conducting research with medical ultrasound imaging was developed.
Exploitation Route The developments will be used by other medical imaging researchers to perform research on ultrasound and photoacoustic imaging, with a view toward improving our ability to visualize structures within the human body.
Sectors Healthcare

Description The findings obtained as part of this grant have been used to develop new methods for performing medical ultrasound imaging and to track the positions of medical devices inside the human body.
First Year Of Impact 2013
Sector Healthcare