During my work with the Celadon Research Division of Ellumen Inc., I was a co-inventor on a patent titled “Microwave Imaging Device” that recently issued on January 16, 2018. This is the fourth patent I have been a co-inventor on. If you are looking for more details of my prior three patents see the post titled “Description of Three Patents Named Co-Inventor On Assigned to Ellumen Inc.” All of these patents were granted by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and currently assigned to Ellumen Inc. I wanted to describe more of the details of the “Microwave Imaging Device” patent.
The “Microwave Imaging Device” patent resulted from wanting an automatic way to acquire microwave imaging data pertaining to some object and/or body part from both a movable transmitting and receiving antenna. In addition, there was desire to be able to collect not just 2D data but also 3D data and also acquire the surface information of what was placed inside the scanner. To accomplish this, a system was built that: 1) contained an object support to hold an object on, 2) contained a transmitter antenna, 3) contained a receiver antenna, 4) had both an inner and outer ring where either the transmitter or receiver was mounted on, 5) contained a controller to independently rotate both the inner and outer ring, 6) contained a computation processor to receive the collected data, and in one embodiment 7) contained a controller to move the object support up and down, and 8) contained an object surface position sensor mounted to either the inner or outer ring to collect the surface of the object. It is important to note that the inner and outer ring are concentric to each other but have different radii. In some embodiments, gears, pinions, and motors are used to help rotate the inner and outer rings, while a feedback monitor can determine if any potential mismatch in positioning occurs. The system further allows for the object surface position data to be used as a seed in the reconstruction of an image represented in dielectric values. In one embodiment, stored data of a prior image reconstruction that closely matches data of the object is used in combination with surface position data as a seed in the reconstruction. The patent also allows for the transmitter and receiver antenna to be mounted in such a way that they can radially translate to and from the center of the device. In addition, the patent covers some aspects of the controller and its module including positions to move both the transmitter and receiver antenna to, the names and locations of the collected data for storage, any necessary instrument parameters, and a calibration of the initial positions of the transmitter and receiver antenna.
The Celadon Research Division of Ellumen Inc. built a prototype of the robotic microwave imaging device as described in the patent that communicates with laboratory instruments (arbitrary waveform generator, oscilloscope, and vector network analyzer) and an infrared sensor and acquires data at different positions for the transmitting and receiving antenna and sensor. I helped program instrument commands to talk to the laboratory instruments using Virtual Instrument Software Architecture (VISA) to automatically acquire data. I collaborated on development of the graphical user interface (GUI) using VB.NET, MATLAB, and a dynamic-link library (DLL). The device can collect data in both the time and frequency domains and be operated remotely with monitoring by a camera. I helped collect data and programmed code to process the data including quickly loading in many data sets, plotting the data, performing analysis, and performing surface reconstruction. I also helped program and generate image reconstruction results from the data collected by the device. The Celadon Research Division of Ellumen Inc., presented a discussion of the device and imaging results in the journal publication IEEE Transactions on Microwave Theory and Techniques and at the IEEE AP-S Symposium on Antennas and Propagation and USNC-URSI Radio Science Meeting in San Diego, CA, in July 2017. See the paper titled “A Phase Confocal Method for Near-Field Microwave Imaging” and the paper of the poster presentation titled “Experimental Microwave Near-field Detection with Moveable Antennas” for some additional details. I was a co-author on the published paper and helped participate in the presentation. A few photos from the conference in San Diego were previously published in the post titled “IEEE AP-S Symposium on Antennas and Propagation and USNC-URSI Radio Science Meeting in San Diego, CA, in July 2017.”
It is exciting to work on new technology and devices that can have a real impact on the health of patients. Below is a patent certificate that was created to celebrate the accomplishment of having the patent granted.