Virtual Hearts and GPU Minds

August 19, 2011 -

Researchers at the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute in Sydney, Australia, are building a virtual heart to study the fatal effects that electrical disturbances can have on patients. This virtual heart, a real-time computer simulator, will allow medical researchers to study how structural changes to the body's most vital organ can interfere with its beating.

Eventually, the team hopes to develop personalized virtual hearts, allowing doctors to use a computer model of an individual's own heart to test treatments - before conducting the procedure on their patients in the real world. The leader of the project, cardiovascular researcher Adam Hill, said one of the main goals of the simulator is to provide a way for doctors to predict which patients may experience an electrical disturbance to their heart, or arrhythmia.

"If we can pick out patterns from simulations and try and understand why and when they occur, that could lead to much better prediction of who it is going to happen to," Dr Hill said.

For a simulator to be useful it must work as close to real-time as possible, so researchers had to come up with an effective way to compute billions of equations every few microseconds. While computer models of the heart have been built in the past, most have proven to be slow and ineffective, and not able to compute information fast enough. To overcome this problem, researchers turned to the technology used in graphics processing units - the same technology used to process the cutting edge 3-D graphics found in video games. The ability to link these processors together was also a boon to researchers.

Researchers also used a magnetic resonance image (MRI) of the heart to map its basic structure and geography onto a computer.

"From MRI you get details of scar regions, so we can map those onto our simulations and see how electrical patterns and structural alterations interact to cause an arrhythmia," he said.

Eventually, the team hopes to create personal virtual hearts based on a patient's own MRI scan to better diagnose and treat their conditions. Jamie Vandenberg, the deputy director of the institute, pointed out that being able to predict who may experience an arrhythmia, which causes about 15 percent of all deaths annually, would be a significant advance in medicine.

Source: Sydney Morning Herald


 
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Papa MidnightIt's not bad so far, but I am honestly not sure what to make of it (or where it's going for that matter)07/28/2014 - 9:44pm
Matthew Wilsonis it any good?07/28/2014 - 9:36pm
Papa Midnight"Love Child" on HBO -- anyone else watching this?07/28/2014 - 9:27pm
MaskedPixelanteNah, I'm fine purple monkey dishwasher.07/28/2014 - 4:05pm
Sleaker@MP - I hope you didn't suffer a loss of your mental faculties attempting that.07/28/2014 - 3:48pm
MaskedPixelanteOK, so my brief research looking at GameFAQs forums (protip, don't do that if you wish to keep your sanity intact.), the 3DS doesn't have the power to run anything more powerful than the NES/GBC/GG AND run the 3DS system in the background.07/28/2014 - 11:01am
ZenMatthew, the 3DS already has GBA games in the form of the ambassador tittles. And I an just as curious about them not releasing them on there like they did the NES ones. I do like them on the Wii U as well, but seems weird. And where are the N64 games?07/28/2014 - 10:40am
james_fudgeNo. They already cut the price. Unless they release a new version that has a higher price point.07/28/2014 - 10:19am
E. Zachary KnightMatthew, It most likely is. The question is whether Nintendo wants to do it.07/28/2014 - 10:12am
Matthew WilsonI am sure the 3ds im more then powerful enough to emulate a GBA game.07/28/2014 - 9:54am
Sleaker@IanC - while the processor is effectively the same or very similar, the issue is how they setup the peripheral hardware. It would probably require creating some kind of emulation for the 3DS to handle interfacing with the audio and input methods for GBA07/28/2014 - 9:30am
Sleaker@EZK - hmmm, that makes sense. I could have sworn I had played GB/GBC games on it too though (emud of course)07/28/2014 - 9:23am
E. Zachary KnightSleaker, the DS has a built in GBA chipset in the system. That is why it played GBA games. The GBA had a seperate chipset for GB and GBColor games. The DS did not have that GB/GBC chipset and that is why the DS could not play GB and GBC games.07/28/2014 - 7:25am
IanCI dont think Nintendo ever gave reason why GBA games a reason why GBA games aren't on the 3DS eshop. The 3DS uses chips that are backwards compatable with the GBA ob GBA processor, after all.07/28/2014 - 6:46am
Sleakerhmmm that's odd I could play GBA games natively in my original DS.07/28/2014 - 1:39am
Matthew Wilsonbasically "we do not want to put these games on a system more then 10 people own" just joking07/27/2014 - 8:13pm
MaskedPixelanteSomething, something, the 3DS can't properly emulate GBA games and it was a massive struggle to get the ambassador games running properly.07/27/2014 - 8:06pm
Andrew EisenIdeally, you'd be able to play such games on either platform but until that time, I think Nintendo's using the exclusivity in an attempt to further drive Wii U sales.07/27/2014 - 7:21pm
Matthew WilsonI am kind of surprised games like battle network are not out on the 3ds.07/27/2014 - 7:01pm
Andrew EisenWell, Mega Man 1 - 4, X and X2 are already on there and the first Battle Network is due out July 31st.07/27/2014 - 6:16pm
 

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