USPTO

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.

Microwave Imaging Device Patent

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.

Todd McCollough Patents Ellumen Celadon