Gaming graphics cards drive advances in medical imaging

Kyle Orland
K. Orland|02.19.08

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Gaming graphics cards drive advances in medical imaging
We all know that gamers can actively help medical research through efforts like the PS3's Folding@Home project. Now comes word from UK's The Engineer magazine that gamers and their pumped up video cards are helping the cause of medical imaging without even trying.

You see, speeding up the processing of magnetic resonance imaging is important to prevent the blurring effects of involuntary body movement. Networked supercomputers are fast enough to do it, but they're too expensive to be a wide scale solution. However, high-powered video cards, with their 128 built-in processors, provide the perfect, low-cost method for speeding things up. And why have those graphics cards so freaking cheap and powerful? "The reason for this is the games industry," said Kings College London Professor Tobias Schaeffter. "It is amazing how much the power of the cards increases annually by putting on more processors and more memory."

So remember, the next time you plunk down hundreds of dollars for that new super-duper graphics card, you're not just helping your gaming experience -- in some small way, you're helping medical research.
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