National Instruments was honoured as a supplier to a winning product in the 2007 Medical Design Excellence Awards (MDEA) competition, a premier awards programme for the medical technology community. OptiMedica Corp used the National Instruments LabVIEW FPGA Module and NI intelligent data acquisition (DAQ) devices to create PASCAL, an innovative laser photocoagulator. PASCAL won the gold award at the 2007 MDEA presentation ceremony, held on 13 June 2007 at the Medical Design and Manufacturing East 2007 Conference and Exposition in New York, USA.
Using the NI LABVIEW FPGA Module and an NI R Series intelligent DAQ device, engineers at OptiMedica created the PASCAL photocoagulator, a fully integrated pattern scanning laser system that provides significantly improved performance for the physician administering treatment to patients with retinal disease, as well as an enhanced therapeutic experience for the patient.
Laser photocoagulation, used to treat patients with retinal disease caused by diabetes, involves the controlled destruction of the peripheral retina using targeted laser pulses. While this type of treatment has proven effective at reducing the chances of vision loss by as much as 50 per cent, it can be very tedious to both patients and doctors, and painful for the patient. With the LabVIEW graphical development platform, engineers at OptiMedica designed and prototyped the machine quickly and efficiently using customisable off-the-shelf PXI hardware. The LabVIEW graphical system design platform gave them a smooth migration path to deploy the final system on PCI intelligent DAQ hardware.
Michael Wiltberger, Principal Engineer at OptiMedica, says: "Using an FPGA in this application provides the reliability of a hardware solution, and the decision to use programmable silicon as opposed to a fixed ASIC chip also reduced our development time by 30 per cent. Another benefit is the ability to add functionality in the future and easily expand or customise the system when needed."
With conventional methods of retinal laser photocoagulation, the physician uses a mechanical joystick and foot pedal to manually deliver individual pulses to the abnormal vessels of the peripheral retina. Intelligent DAQ hardware is used to semi-automate this process by administering a pattern of up to 25 pulses at a time. The FPGA chip on intelligent DAQ devices allows for greater precision and safety.
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