Plane Wave – Vol. 4, Issue 8 – Verasonics Introduces the SoniVue Application Launcher

Welcome to the eighth issue of Volume 4 of PLANE WAVE, Verasonics’ Newsletter through which we share information about new products and technologies, emerging applications, conferences, training opportunities, and collaborations with researchers in ultrasound and ultrasonic technologies.  We hope you find these newsletters informative and interesting, and welcome your suggestions for future topics.

New Products and Applications  •  Technology Information  •  Research   •  Conferences and Training

Verasonics Introduces the SoniVue Application Launcher

A Complimentary Interface Providing Quick and Easy Access to Vantage™ Applications

The SoniVue Application Launcher

With the release of the latest Vantage Software (i.e., version 4.4), Verasonics will begin offering the SoniVue Application Launcher to Vantage users. The SoniVue Application Launcher is a complimentary interface allowing users streamlined and user-friendly access to a variety of graphical-user-interface (GUI) applications.

Verasonics integrated the Launcher into the MATLAB® Apps-toolbar section (Figure 1) to create an intuitive tool that allows access to Vantage applications without requiring any knowledge of the MATLAB programming environment. The Launcher is also customizable and includes a simple mechanism to integrate custom applications.

Figure 1: Installed Application Launcher in the MATLAB Apps-toolbar section (red circle).

Although SoniVue applications can be launched using simple commands executed in the MATLAB console, this approach requires knowledge of required commands that need to be executed and may prove challenging for users less familiar with MATLAB. The Launcher provides instant access to SoniVue applications without users requiring any programming skills. The SoniVue Application Launcher will be automatically installed with Vantage Software (ver. 4.4) the first time the user activates the Vantage software. The process is quick and remains consistent with the usual activation process. After installation and activation, the user will find a new icon in the MATLAB App-toolbar section (Figure 1). To start the Launcher, the user simply clicks on the icon.

A beneficial feature of the Launcher is that it will automatically find and activate the Vantage Software version from which it was installed. This means that after the Launcher has been installed, there is no need to type “activate.” If a user clicks on the Launcher icon, activation will be performed automatically as if no Vantage software had already been activated. If the user has already activated a Vantage version, the Launcher will execute with the activated version (note, the Launcher will not activate the Vantage software twice).

Figure 2 shows the Launcher interface. The Launcher includes two sections:

  • Quick-Access-Button list (on the left side, numbers 1 and 5)
  • Application information (on the right side, numbers 2-4)

The Quick-Access-Button list section provides all applications that are available for execution. When hovering over each button using the mouse pointer, information about that particular SoniVue application will be displayed on the right side of the Launcher. Each application provides a name (2), brief description (3), and a screenshot (4). Furthermore, the Launcher provides a section for user-defined applications (5).

Figure 2: Launcher interface with buttons for Vantage applications (1), application name (2), application description (3) and thumbnail image (4). User-defined applications will appear in the User Applications section (5).  

Ways to Access Custom Applications

MATLAB users have several different options for achieving streamlined access to their custom applications. The following section gives an overview of these approaches and their advantages and disadvantages.

Approach 1: Add Custom Buttons to the Launcher (Preferred)

The SoniVue Application Launcher enables Verasonics users to access custom applications by extending the list of user-defined Application Buttons. This is the preferred and easiest way for generating GUI-based access to custom applications. The advantage of the Launcher is that it ensures that the Vantage software is correctly activated once the Launcher is being displayed. This will guarantee that subsequent calls to the Vantage software (e.g., VSX, various scripts) will execute properly.

The Launcher stores the application information in two local databases (i.e., app-info database): one for the predefined applications and one for the user-defined applications. The user can add and remove custom application definitions to and from the custom app-info database by using a few simple commands. Detailed instructions are included in the SoniVue-Application-Launcher App Notes. No knowledge of GUI programming is required for adding or removing custom applications. Figure 3 shows an example of a user-defined application added to the Launcher.

Figure 3: Launcher interface with a custom application added to the User Application section. 

Approach 2: MATLAB App section (User-defined MATLAB Apps)

Adding a new icon to the MATLAB App section (i.e., like the SoniVue Launcher icon in Figure 1) that uses Vantage software is not as straightforward and may impose complexity. However, MATLAB does allow its customers to add custom, standalone applications to the MATLAB App toolbar as an alternative.

Additionally, adding an application that uses Vantage software by only using the MATLAB approach may not work properly or may lead to misleading results. The reason for this is how MATLAB makes the app available. That internal process conflicts with the activate strategy of Verasonics’ Vantage software.

Conflicts may occur for a variety of reasons, including:

  • The user already activated a Verasonics version
  • The user calls activate in its startup function
  • The user did not activate the current version
  • The version that is currently activated does not match the version that is installed
  • If the platform (e.g., MacOS, Windows) of the installer and the current running system do not match
  • Because of the usage of MATLAB’s evalin function and other reasons, the dependency analysis may not capture all functions that are necessary to execute the software
  • And other reasons

Approach 3: Compiled MATLAB Applications

In addition to the first approach, the MATLAB Compiler provides two benefits that may be of interest to Verasonics customers.

The Compiler allows an application to be distributed as a standalone software application to any number of computers, without the need for a MATLAB installation and the resulting license fee for each computer. Note, however, that all the Vantage systems must be licensed for use with the Vantage software.

The compiler securely encrypts all the code in an executable, preventing the code from being modified or inspected in the deployed application. This can be useful when the user has written an application and needs to protect the application code.

For more details, please refer to the application notes.

During the COVID-19 crisis, we are here for you. Verasonics offers ultrasound simulator software that can assist in the continuation of research in a remote setting. Vantage customers have access to five simulator licenses with their system purchase that enable programming and verification of custom acquisition sequences without Vantage system hardware present. This allows for sharing of a single hardware system among multiple users and allows research and development teams to work virtually. To expand your lab’s efficiency while working remotely, Verasonics is offering increased access to the ultrasound simulator software to all customers. Verasonics is pleased to provide an additional five ultrasound simulator software licenses per account on a temporary basis (expires in 6 months). It is our sincere hope that we can support your goals and research during this unsettling time. For more information, please click here.

Visit Us and Learn What’s New at these Upcoming Conferences:

Currently there are no upcoming conferences, however, please join us for our next Vantage customer training via live webinar, 1-4 February, 2021, 9 – 11 am PT.

Please contact sarashager@verasonics.com to register or click here for more information.

2020-11-24T19:14:56-07:00 November 24th, 2020|Imaging, New Products, Software, Transducers, Verasonics Technology|