Medical image processing in general and computerized tomography (CT) in particular can benefit greatly from hardware acceleration. This application domain is marked by computationally intensive algorithms requiring the rapid processing of large amounts of data. To date, reconfigurable hardware has not been applied to the important area of image reconstruction. For efficient implementation and maximum speedup, fixed-point implementations are required. The associated quantization errors must be carefully balanced against the requirements of the medical community. Specifically, care must be taken so that very little error is introduced compared to floating-point implementations and the visual quality of the images is not compromised. In this paper, we present an FPGA implementation of the parallel-beam backprojection algorithm used in CT for which all of these requirements are met. We explore a number of quantization issues arising in backprojection and concentrate on minimizing error while maximizing efficiency. Our implementation shows approximately 100 times speedup over software versions of the same algorithm running on a 1 GHz Pentium, and is more flexible than an ASIC implementation. Our FPGA implementation can easily be adapted to both medical sensors with different dynamic ranges as well as tomographic scanners employed in a wider range of application areas including nondestructive evaluation and baggage inspection in airport terminals.
backprojection medical imaging tomography FPGA fixed point arithmetic