EMERALD results will be of interest for several target groups: the relevant scientific communities (i.e., electrical and biomedical engineers, applied physicists and clinicians), industrial and market stakeholders, policy makers, medical associations and the general public.

The scientific results dissemination among the peers mainly stands on publishing the achieved results in high impact peer-reviewed journals that offer open access, such as those published by IEEE, IET, IOP and AAPM, which rank highly in Impact Factor.

The fellows will also present their work at international conferences such as the annual symposia by relevant scientific Societies as well as at clinical and translational conferences, to increase awareness of the technology amongst the medical community, and leverage their expertise to identify new unmet clinical needs and opportunities to refine our devices for clinicals.

Journal papers

  • High level design of a flexible PCA hardware accelerator using a new block-streaming method

    M.A. Mansoori (ESR3), M.R. Casu (POLITO)

    Principal Component Analysis (PCA) is a technique for dimensionality reduction that is useful in removing redundant information in data for various applications such as Microwave Imaging (MI) and Hyperspectral Imaging (HI). The computational complexity of PCA has made the hardware acceleration of PCA an active research topic in recent years. Although the hardware design flow can be optimized using High Level Synthesis (HLS) tools, efficient high-performance solutions for complex embedded systems still require careful design. In this paper we propose a flexible PCA hardware accelerator in Field-Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGA) that we designed entirely in HLS. In order to make the internal PCA computations more efficient, a new block-streaming method is also introduced. Several HLS optimization strategies are adopted to create an efficient hardware. The flexibility of our design allows us to use it for different FPGA targets, with flexible input data dimensions, and it also lets us easily switch from a more accurate floating-point implementation to a higher speed fixed-point solution. The results show the efficiency of our design compared to state-of-the-art implementations on GPUs, many-core CPUs, and other FPGA approaches in terms of resource usage, execution time and power consumption.

  • Experimental Validation of Microwave Tomography with the DBIM-TwIST Algorithm for Brain Stroke Detection and Classification

    O. Karadima (ESR7), M. Rahman, I. Sotiriou, N. Ghavami, P. Lu, S. Ahsan, P. Kosmas (KCL).

    We present an initial experimental validation of a microwave tomography (MWT) prototype for brain stroke detection and classification using the distorted Born iterative method, two-step iterative shrinkage thresholding (DBIM-TwIST) algorithm. The validation study consists of first preparing and characterizing gel phantoms which mimic the structure and the dielectric properties of a simplified brain model with a haemorrhagic or ischemic stroke target. Then, we measure the S-parameters of the phantoms in our experimental prototype and process the scattered signals from 0.5 to 2.5 GHz using the DBIM-TwIST algorithm to estimate the dielectric properties of the reconstruction domain. Ourresultsdemonstratethatweareabletodetectthestroketargetinscenarios where the initial guess of the inverse problem is only an approximation of the true experimental phantom. Moreover, the prototype can differentiate between haemorrhagic and ischemic strokes based on the estimation of their dielectric properties.

  • Feasibility Study of Enhancing Microwave Brain Imaging Using Metamaterials

    E. Razzicchia (ESR5) , I. Sotiriou, H. Cano-Garcia; E. Kallos, G. Palikaras, P. Kosmas (KCL)

    We present an approach to enhance microwave brain imaging with an innovative metamaterial (MM) planar design based on a cross-shaped split-ring resonator (SRR-CS). The proposed metasurface is incorporated in different setups, and its interaction with EM waves is studied both experimentally and by using CST Microwave Studio R and is compared to a “no MM” case scenario. We show that the MM can enhance the penetration of the transmitted signals into the human head when placed in contact with skin tissue, acting as an impedance-matching layer. In addition, we show that the MM can improve the transceivers’ ability to detect useful “weak” signals when incorporated in a headband scanner for brain imaging by increasing the signal difference from a blood-like dielectric target introduced into the brain volume. Our results suggest that the proposed MM film can be a powerful hardware advance towards the development of scanners for brain haemorrhage detection and monitoring.

  • A Prototype Microwave System for 3D Brain Stroke Imaging

    J. Tobon Vasquez (POLITO), R. Scapaticci (CNR-IREA), G. Turvani (POLITO), G. Bellizzi, D. O. Rodriguez-Duarte (ESR9), N. Joachimowicz, B. Duchêne (CNRS), E. Tedeschi, M. R. Casu (POLITO), L. Crocco (CNR-IREA) and F. Vipiana.

    This work focuses on brain stroke imaging via microwave technology. In particular, the open issue of monitoring patients after stroke onset is addressed here in order to provide clinicians with a tool to control the effectiveness of administered therapies during the follow-up period. In this paper, a novel prototype is presented and characterized. The device is based on a low-complexity architecture which makes use of a minimum number of properly positioned and designed antennas placed on a helmet. It exploits a differential imaging approach and provides 3D images of the stroke. Preliminary experiments involving a 3D phantom filled with brain tissuemimicking liquid confirm the potential of the technology in imaging a spherical target mimicking a stroke of a radius equal to 1.25 cm.

    (Updated link in the next days)

Conference papers

  • Phantoms for a Novel Generation of Medical Microwave Imaging Devices

    S. Abedi (ESR1), N. Joachimowicz, O. Meyer and D. Picard (CNRS-SUPELEC), and H. Roussel (SU).

    Abstract: This paper shows that the manufacturing process presented in our previous work which was used for building time-stable and remotely reproducible breast and head phantoms, opens up new avenues for mimicking any types of biological tissues in the frequency range of [500 MHz – 3 GHz]. Moreover, the numerical version of the phantom (STL format file) enables us to test its conformity, as well as experimental configurations. The study is placed in the framework of the European project EMERALD.

  • Development of an EM Device for Cerebrovascular Diseases Imaging and Hardware Acceleration for Imaging Algorithms Within the EMERALD Network

    D.O. Rodriguez Duarte (ESR9), M.A. Mansoori (ESR3), J.A. Tobon Vasquez, G. Turvani, M.R. Casu and F. Vipiana (POLITO).

    Abstract: This paper is presenting the first months of research activities within the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network “EMERALD” developed by the Politecnico di Torino group. Our research work is related to the development of an electromagnetic device for cerebrovascular diseases imaging and to the hardware acceleration of the implemented imaging algorithms via field-programmable gate arrays or application-specific integrated circuits coupled with regular multicore central processing units and even graphics processing units.

  • Early-stage Dielectric Characterisation of Renal Cell Carcinoma for Positive Surgical Margin Detection

    A. La Gioia, M. A. Elahi, A. Bottiglieri, N. Ištuk (ESR2), C. Dowlingand, F. D'Arcy, M. O'Halloran, and E. Porter (NUIG).

    Abstract: Partial nephrectomy is preferred to total nephrectomy for clinically localised renal cell carcinoma. Currently, the risk of positive margins during partial nephrectomy is minimised with the use of intraoperative ultrasound. In this study, dielectric spectroscopy is proposed for the detection of positive margins. Specifically, the feasibility of using an open-ended coaxial probe operating at microwave frequencies is evaluated for in vivo differentiation between positive and negative surgical margins. Due to the lack of dielectric properties of renal cancerous tissue in the literature, early stage ex vivo dielectric measurements were conducted on five human renal samples immediately after excision. A wide range of dielectric measurement results were obtained due to the heterogeneity of renal samples and the different longitudinal location of the cancerous tissue across the samples. This outcome suggests the need to refine the protocol for dielectric characterisation of renal cell carcinoma and highlights the limitations of a coaxial probe at detecting renal tumour margins.

  • Advances Towards the Development of a Brain Microwave Imaging Scanner

    S. Ahsan, M. Koutsoupidou, E. Razzicchia (ESR5), I. Sotiriou and P. Kosmas (KCL).

    Abstract: This paper presents some hardware advances towards a microwave system for brain imaging. In particular, we present a new antenna array design for efficient propagation of microwave signals in the head, as well as a metamaterial structure designed for transmission enhancement through impedance matching. The presented system is modelled in CST Microwave Studio, using a specific anthropomorphic mannequin (SAM) head model to analyse performance. Simulations results suggest that our designs can be useful in designing a microwave scanner for brain imaging applications such as stroke detection and monitoring.

  • Survey and Classification of Antennas for Medical Applications

    T. Singh (ESR6), M. Nikolic Stevanovic (UB) and B. Kolundzija (WIPL-D).

    Abstract: This manuscript provides a comprehensive survey of various antenna types used in microwave medical applications. This research is the first step towards the development of a thorough numerical library containing various components used in microwave medical systems such as antennas, phantoms, matching media, etc. The goal of this effort is to enable researchers in this field to efficiently and easily test their algorithms and/or hardware using standardized components. In addition, such a library would encourage considering the whole system instead of partial approach in which, for e.g., developing imaging algorithms ignored the physical sensors etc. Here, we consider various antenna designs that have emerged in the last two decades. In particular, we discuss the chronological evolution of antennas for hyperthermia, biotelemetry and microwave imaging. We also classify antennas with respect to utilized frequency band, such as Medical Implant Communication Service (MICS), Industrial, Scientific and Medical (ISM) Radio Bands, and Ultra Wide-Band (UWB).