The present work demonstrates that a low cost, flexible and user- friendly workstation for the MRI laboratory can be implemented by using a personal computer and public-domain software. The workstation is based on a Pentium® personal computer, operating under the Linux operative system, and uses the software Khoros® (Khoral Research, Albuquerque, NM). This software is a general purpose package for handling signals and we here report its suitability for MR images analysis. Khoros® allows to create workspaces where different procedures (also written by the users) can be combined for implementing more complex procedures. We created workspaces for obtaining 2D and 3D images from time domain data which also allow for apodization and zero-filling. The time required for a 3D-FFT (matrix size 128 x 128 x 128) is about 12 min with the presently used microprocessor. We have also created workspaces for calculating apparent diffusion coefficient maps and for segmentation of MR images. Our results demonstrate that a personal computer equipped with public-domain software can represent a powerful tool to fulfil the MRI laboratory common needs.
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