A RDMA Interface for Ultra-Fast Ultrasound Data-Streaming over an Optical Link

Research paper presented at the DATE 2022 conference (Design, Automation and Test in Europe conference) that took place online from 14 to 23 March 2022.


Digital ultrasound (US) probes integrate the analog-to-digital conversion directly on the probe and can be conveniently connected to commodity devices. Existing digital probes are however limited to a relatively small number of channels, do not guarantee access to the raw US data, or cannot operate at very high frame rates (e.g., due to exhaustion of computing and storage units on the receiving device). In this work, we present an open, compact, power-efficient, 192-channels digital US data acquisition system capable of streaming US data at transfer rates greater than 80 Gbps towards a host PC for ultra-high frame rate imaging (in the multi-kHz range). Our US probe is equipped with two power-efficient Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs) and is interfaced to the host PC with two optical-link 100G Ethernet connections. The high-speed performance is enabled by implementing a Remote Direct Memory Access (RDMA) communication protocol between the probe and the controlling PC, that utilizes a high-performance Non-Volatile Memory Express (NVMe) interface to store the streamed data. To the best of our knowledge, thanks to the achieved datarates, this is the first high-channel-count compact digital US platform capable of raw data streaming at frame rates of 20 kHz (for imaging at 3.5 cm depths), without the need for sparse sampling, consuming less than 40 W.


Andrea Cossettini, Konstantin Taranov, Christian Vogt, Michele Magno, Torsten Hoefler and Luca Benini