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PhD Thesis Proposal: Kendall Farnham



4:00pm - 6:00pm ET

Online / Jackson Conference Rm

For Zoom link, please email kendall.r.farnham.TH@dartmouth.edu.

"An FPGA-based EIT system for deep space medical imaging"


Dangers associated with high radiation and microgravity exposure in space is a critical challenge inhibiting us from exploring deep space and pursuing long-duration missions, as current medical systems are unable to monitor, diagnose, or treat tissue injury within physical spacecraft constraints and communication limits. Ultrasound (US) is the current imaging system used on the International Space Station, but its ambiguous images require telemedical support for diagnosis, making US alone an unfeasible solution for deep space. Electrical impedance tomography (EIT) is a non-invasive, non-ionizing technology that produces images of the electrical properties of tissues, capable of monitoring a range of long-term physiological effects of space travel (e.g. tissue injury, muscle atrophy, thoracic function, cell growth, cancer detection).

To address the needs of isolated deep space medical imaging, we propose a multi-channel EIT acquisition system to monitor and diagnose the physiological effects of deep space travel, with the ability to plug in different probes for different applications. We will couple ultrasound and EIT (US-EIT) to provide a low-cost, low-resource medical imaging system that can accurately discriminate deep internal bleeding/injury while meeting space travel constraints, elucidating the effects of deep space exposure and providing greater diagnostic accuracy for selecting the most appropriate treatment. So far, we have developed an integrated US-EIT probe and implemented an FPGA-based EIT data acquisition with a custom wide-bandwidth analog front end. Preliminary US-EIT phantom imaging has been performed with the probe using a benchtop EIT system and GE Vivid E95 Flexible Ultrasound System (FUS), validating the use of EIT for enhancing US. Proposed work includes finalizing hardware development and designing an automatic calibration scheme for space-deployment, conducting further phantom US-EIT image studies using distal electrodes for improved depth sensitivity, and assessing US-EIT capabilities to detect deep internal bleeding in an animal model. Finally, we will integrate the EIT acquisition with the FUS to deliver a fully integrated US-EIT system.

Thesis Committee

  • Ryan Halter (chair)
  • Kofi Odame
  • Geoff Luke
  • Tong In Oh (KHU)
  • Bill Thompson (NASA)


For more information, contact Theresa Fuller at theresa.d.fuller@dartmouth.edu.