Xilinx has announced that Aloka Co., Ltd., the world's leading pioneer of ultrasound systems for the medical and health science industries, has selected Virtex-4 SX EasyPath FPGAs for its ProSound 10 high-end ultrasound diagnostic system. Aloka leveraged high-performance DSP functionality from Xilinx to develop a real-time display for high definition images, incorporating sophisticated features while significantly reducing development lead time.
The EasyPath FPGA conversion-free cost reduction path enabled Aloka to ramp to volume production in just 12 weeks following design freeze. Because EasyPath FPGAs are identical to standard FPGAs, Aloka was also able to avoid the high cost of system requalification that would have been required with an ASIC. Each ProSound 10 system incorporates multiple Xilinx Virtex-4 SX devices using EasyPath technology.
The Virtex-4 SX devices are used primarily to transmit/receive focused data in the ProSound 10. The ultrasound system displays real-time tomographic images of internal organs for accurate diagnosis. Displaying high-resolution ultrasound images requires precise focus of ultrasound beams, which is accomplished through high-speed, high-resolution processing of data received across dozens of channels. To reduce the cost of this functionality, Aloka selected EasyPath FPGAs over an ASIC solution. EasyPath FPGAs were chosen over an ASIC alternative based on their conversion-free cost reduction path that provides the lowest total cost while offering 100 percent support for "Hard IP" including high performance DSP multipliers. The shift from an ASIC approach to a programmable architecture allowed Aloka to integrate a wide range of circuits into a single chip while reducing the number of system components and provided flexibility throughout the design process to refine specifications all the way up to volume production.
"We're now in our 12th year of using Xilinx FPGAs in our products. We're using several dozens of Xilinx FPGAs and CPLDs in the ProSound 10 as key components of its electronic circuitry" said Toshiaki Fujiki, Asistant General Manager, R&D Section, Medical System Engineering Dept., Aloka Co., LTD. "Going forward, we intend to fit even more circuits into the same space to reduce cost and produce smaller form factor products. We look forward to future innovations from Xilinx as they push for even higher system integration."
"Aloka was able to leverage the unique benefits of EasyPath FPGAs to bring the product to market sooner, with higher quality, and lower cost," said Patrick Dorsey, product line director for EasyPath at Xilinx. "The EasyPath total cost advantage enables customers like Aloka to avoid the high cost and high risk of an ASIC conversion."
About Aloka's ultrasound systems
Ultrasound diagnostic systems are widely used in medical facilities, both in Japan and abroad, for their safety and ease of use. The ProSound 10 is positioned at the top end of the company's ultrasound diagnostic system lineup and delivers crisp and clear images with excellent spatial analysis performance and low acoustic noise thanks to its significantly improved precision in focusing ultrasound pulse formation. The world's ultrasound diagnostic equipment market is worth some 450 billion yen annually and promises to continue growing by about 5% annually. Since pioneering the ultrasound diagnostic equipment market when it launched its first product in 1960, Aloka has manufactured some 200,000 ultrasound systems as of December 31, 2006.
About Xilinx EasyPath FPGAs
Xilinx EasyPath technology delivers the performance, value, and time-savings needed to optimize high-volume applications. With the fastest time-to-market and industry's lowest total cost, Xilinx EasyPath solutions offer the best FPGA cost reduction path in the industry. For more information visit www.xilinx.com/easypath.