SonixTouch Research Basics
Using the SonixTOUCH Research system is quite simple once the functions and basic concepts have been learned.
There are two general modes of operation that the SonixTOUCH Research can run; Clinical Mode and Research Mode. Clinical mode puts the system in standard diagnostic mode without any research capabilities, and Research Mode puts the system in a mode where special parameters and imaging modes can be accessed. To switch between the two modes, ensure the following steps are performed:
- Press Q button on the console to enter the QSonix screen
- Click Select Protocol
- Choose the Research protocol, which will layout the touchscreen appropriately
- Press the Research button on the touchscreen to toggle the operational mode
When Research Mode is active:
- The message Investigational Use Only will be displayed on the ultrasound image
- The system software will look like a Microsoft Windows™ application with a title bar and minimize/maximize/close buttons
- The Microsoft Windows™ desktop is active for use like a PC
When Clinical Mode is active:
- The system software will cover the entire monitor and access to the Microsoft Windows™ desktop will not be possible
|Feature||Clinical Mode||Research Mode|
|Data Storage Screen||X||X|
|Investigational Use Only Message||X|
One of the most popular uses of the SonixTOUCH Research is to collect digital Radio Frequency (RF) data. RF data is the signal before any digital filtering, envelope detection or compression has been applied in the processing chain.
The architecture of the SonixTOUCH Research is one where the electronics send a specific data type over to the PC. When the system is in B mode imaging, there is no RF data being sent to the PC, just envelope data. Therefore to acquire RF data, a special mode of operation, called RF Mode, was created so that the RF data could be streamed across. The mode is operational on any SonixTOUCH Research system and can be accessed by pressing the RF button on the touchscreen. To return to regular B-mode while in RF mode, the B button can be pressed on the touchscreen. RF mode is available in both Clinical and Research modes of operation. In Clinical mode, the RF spectrum will not be displayed, and B/RF acquisition mode (see below) is automatically selected.
RF mode has two displays, the top display shows a B-mode image, and the bottom shows an RF trace. The RF trace corresponds to the movable line on the B-mode image. Although the RF trace only shows a single line, the RF data is actually being acquired across the entire transducer (for the specified line-density and sector), and stored in cine memory.
The trace shows a single RF line on the screen.
There are three acquisition types in RF mode:
- Acquire B
- Acquire RF
- Acquire B/RF
The sequence is to acquire one B frame, one RF frame, one B frame, one RF frame, and continues. The sampling rate is displayed on the right corner of the RF trace box; it may be necessary to adjust the decimation if the preset defaults to 20MHz and 40MHz is desired; data is always in 16 bit samples.
Starting Exam 6.0, the hardware no longer provides B data and the processing to generate B-mode images is done in the software by processing the original RF data. As a result, the RF data will always be available in the system in all the imaging modes and the system no longer needs to have a dedicated RF mode. This also doubles the frame rate since for every B-mode image the corresponding RF image also exist. In other words, there is no need to ask the system to acquire one frame of RF data followed by another frame of B-mode data.
In B/RF, the B image is collected first, followed by an RF frame. In this case, the typical frame rate scenario is cut in half. If frame rate is a concern, then RF would be the mode of choice, otherwise if a reference B image is desired, the B/ modes are quite useful.
RF data can be collected as an entire frame of beamformed signals; this will use the same number of scanlines used to create the B image.