During my work with the Celadon Research Division of Ellumen Inc., I have had three patents that I was a co-inventor on issue to date. The first patent was issued in August 2015, titled “Dielectric Encoding of Medical Images.” The second patent was issued in July 2016, titled “Distributed Microwave Image Processing System and Method.” The third patent was issued in July 2017, also titled “Dielectric Encoding of Medical Images.” In addition, a fourth patent titled “Microwave Imaging Device” is expected to issue later this month in January 2018, that I am also a co-inventor on. All of these patents were granted by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and currently assigned to Ellumen Inc. I wanted to provide a brief discussion of the first three issued patents.
The first and third patents titled “Dielectric Encoding of Medical Images” resulted from wanting a way to allow for doctors to easily read and understand images produced using electromagnetics represented in dielectric values. To accomplish this I worked with the chief executive officer (CEO) of Ellumen Inc. to explore the microwave imaging modality while also allowing for easy adaptability by doctors and hospitals. I researched the modality, developed algorithms, and developed programs to convert medical images in dielectric values to Hounsfield units, which are present in computed tomography (CT) scans, and to MRI intensity values, which are present in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans. The code successfully worked for single frequencies and over a range of frequency values (using a Debye model). This allows for doctors to understand images producing using electromagnetics in readily understood CT and/or MRI formats without requiring any additional training, leading to timely and accurate medical diagnosis. The conversion method developed allows for existing medical diagnostic tools and analysis techniques to be used directly with microwave imaging. In addition, the method for conversion from an image in Hounsfield units to dielectric values and conversion from an image in dielectric values to Hounsfield units can go in both directions. Furthermore, the method for conversion from an image in dielectric values to MRI intensity values includes creating a water content map and a T1 map as an intermediary step. The patent also included a method to convert medical images in Hounsfield units to dielectric values using a frequency dependent model. Deriving dielectric models from CT scans is often useful when solving complex problems in computational electromagnetics.
The second patent titled “Distributed Microwave Image Processing System and Method” resulted from the need to want all imaging centers, radiology groups, and/or doctor’s offices to be able to have access to images produced using electromagnetics without having to upgrade their computer hardware. A method was developed to allow for the majority of image processing and image reconstruction of microwave images to occur in a centralized computing environment. Instead of performing image processing and image reconstruction at the imaging centers, radiology groups, and/or doctor’s offices, these remote sites send the microwave data they collect to the the centralized computing environment. The centralized computing environment also offers another distinct advantage; the data and results acquired at all the remote sites can be stored and used to enhance processing and reconstruction of microwave images. The centralized computing environment takes advantage of multiple processors to perform iterative reconstruction and seeds the reconstruction using prior data. In one embodiment of the invention, the seed is generated by first comparing collected and stored scattering fields to find a best or closest match and then using stored data of a prior reconstructed image reconstructed corresponding to the stored scattering fields of the best or closest match. In another embodiment of the invention, the seed is generated by both of (1) using the collected microwave data and (2) using stored data of a prior reconstructed image of a different patient which closely matches data of the current patient. The centralized computing environment also has the capability to convert medical images in dielectric values to Hounsfield units. The method developed and described allows for more accurate image reconstructions to occur in less time than if they were performed at remote sites.
It is exciting to work on new technology and methods that can have a real impact on the health of patients. Below are three patent certificates that were created to celebrate the accomplishment of having these three patents granted.