"This proposal considers non-rigid image registration and data fusion to localise a hand-held probe as it is scanned over the human body. To give the project context and provide a clear route to impact the project will focus on the specific case of tactile breast imaging, an exciting new methodology for breast cancer imaging. That said, the long term impact of this project will extend into other medical applications and general computer vision research.
The project will demonstrate the ability to localise a handheld probe scanned over the breast by imaging the vascular network and registering images using a finite element guided deformable registration model. The system will be demonstrated using a palpitation phantom and its performance fully characterised using metrology equipment available at Strathclyde (funded through EP/G038627/1).
The proposed target application, tactile imaging, creates a stress image that can be used to characterise breast cancer lesions, providing estimates of their size and relative elasticity. Advantages of tactile breast imaging over other imaging modalities include inherently low cost, ease-of-use, portability, and minimal training requirements. Unlike mammography which provides a complete image of the breast, tactile imaging probes are scanned over the breast, producing a real time feed of the pressure profile under the probe. This temporal feed is more difficult to interpret than a global image of the breast as the data has less spatial context. Furthermore, the scanning approach risks missing areas of the breast as it relies on the examiner to visit all regions with no feedback that this has been achieved. Representing the results as a global mosaic would significantly de-skill the procedure broadening the suitability of the technology."