Skip to main content

Virtual autopsies

One of the best talks at AHM2007 was on medical imaging, by Prof. Anders Ynnerman of Linkoping University in Sweden. Imaging researchers always have an advantage when giving talks because they can show much of their work in pictures; Anders took full advantage. The immediacy of visualisation in communicating information meant that some viewers found his medical pictures a little too gruesome.

The computer science aspect of his talk was about techniques for 3-D reconstruction of body images from the 2-D “slices” taken by medical CAT and MRI scanners. As these scanning devices increase in resolution, so the size of data to be processed increases. In order to process the data, ZZX is using intelligent compression techniques, based on whether a voxel represents bone, blood or tissue.

Aside from the technical content, I was very interested in the uses XXX has found for this work in addition to the usual pre-operative medical briefing. His team are now able to help the police by performing virtual autopsies. They can receive a corpse in a body bag, scan it, analyses the results on a computational cluster and give the resulting images to the pathologies a few hours later.

This technique is particular useful for spotting broken bones, for example, or detecting the path of a bullet through a body. This latter example was used to clear a police officer of misconduct charges after a fatal shooting – the team were able to show that the office had aimed at the target’s legs as per orders but the bullet had ricocheted upwards off a railing, killing the victim. So the death was an accident rather than murder.

At present, this system requires careful tuning by the expert team for each case, but it seem eminently suitable to develop further into production use.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Presentation: Putting IT all together

This is a presentation I gave to an audience of University staff: 

In this seminar, I invite you to consider what the University’s online services would be like, if we worked together to design them from the perspective of the student or member of staff who will use them, instead of designing them around the organisational units that provide them. I’ll start with how the services might appear to that student or member of staff, then work back from there to show what this implies for how we work, how we manage our data, and how we integrate our IT systems. It might even lead to changes in our organisational structure.

Our online services make a vital and valued contribution to the work of our students and staff. I argue that with better integration, more consistent user interfaces, and shared data, this contribution could be significantly enhanced.

This practice is called “Enterprise Architecture”. I’ll describe how it consults multiple organisational units and defines a framework …

Service Excellence, Digital Transformation and Enterprise Architecture

Our University Secretary has sponsored a major review of the University’s administrative processes, coining the banner “Service Excellence”.  The aim is to look at the services we provide to staff and students with a fresh eye, making them more effective, more efficient, and focussed on the user rather than administrative convenience.

Our CIO is sponsoring a similar programme called “Digital Transformation”. This will replace old paper-based processes, starting with the question of what would processes look like if we designed them afresh for the modern connected world.  The aim is to make processes that are more focussed on the user and hence more effective and efficient.

Both of these ambitious programmes will need an effective enterprise architecture, if they are to succeed.  Digital Transformation is intrinsically about using opportunities provided by new technology to improve services and, as such, it requires effective technology services to make data available when needed, to pro…

Not so simple...

A common approach to explaining the benefits of Enterprise Architecture is to draw two diagrams: one that shows a complicated mess of interconnections, and one that shows a nicely layered set of blocks. Something like this one, which came from some consultants:


I've never felt entirely happy with this approach.  Yes, we do want to remove as much of the needless complexity and ad-hoc design that litters the existing architecture.  Yes, we do want to simplify the architecture and make it more consistent and intelligible.  But the simplicity of the block diagram shown here is unobtainable in the vast majority of real enterprises.  We have a mixture of in-house development and different third-party systems, some hosted in-house, some on cloud infrastructure and some accessed as software-as-a-service.  For all the talk of standards, vendors use different authentication systems, different integration systems, and different user interfaces.

So the simple block diagram is, basically, a l…