I find it both challenging and rewarding to work on health care technologies that can facilitate diagnostic decision making. More specifically, I work in the area of medical ultrasound, which on one hand is a great imaging tool because it is safe and portable and inexpensive, but which on the other hand requires a significant skill level to use effectively. Thus, to expand the use of medical ultrasound, we need to develop effective training tools for acquiring the skills needed for ultrasound scanning; we need to design an easier-to-interpret and accurate image presentation to simplify diagnostic decisions: and we need good communications tools to make remote expert consultation possible.
In the Ultrasound Lab, we are engaged in such activities. We are developing a low-cost, realistic teaching tool for training in ultrasound scanning. This system allows the trainee to scan virtual subjects (much like a video game), recognizing anatomical landmarks and practicing making diagnostic decisions based on ultrasound images. Another project deals with the challenge of automated image analysis for trauma situations where ultrasound system may be in the hands of a less trained EMT. We are also using image compression tools so that ultrasound images can be streamed from anywhere over cell phone or WiFi networks.
My teaching is closely related to my research, and I really enjoy sharing the knowledge of uncovering information that can only be extracted through signal and image processing.
Professional Highlights & Honors
The Worcester Business Journal reported on work funded by a $1.6 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to develop a new smartphone app to monitor chronic wounds. The work is led by Emmanuel Agu, associate professor of computer science and coordinator of WPI’s Mobile Graphics Research Group, with co-principal investigators professor Diane Strong and associate professor Bengisu Tulu, both of the Foisie Business School, and Peder Pedersen, a retired professor of electrical and computer engineering.