Weidlinger Associates, Inc., developer of PZFlex®, the popular 3D virtual-prototyping analysis software, and CliQr Technologies, the leader in cloud application management software, announced the launch of PZFlexCloud on CliQr’s CloudCenter™ platform. PZFlexCloud extends the market reach and performance of PZFlex’s award-winning engineering software by exploiting the power, elasticity, and ubiquity of the cloud. Running on HP Cloud Services, PZFlexCloud is offered as a professional service as well as an additional feature of the full PZFlex solution suite.
“Cloud computing’s almost infinite on-demand resources, with its utility billing model, combined with our leading PZFlex finite element analysis [FEA] software as a service, is a game changer for the scientific and engineering communities,” said Dr. Robert Banks, PZFlex director at the Mountain View, California, office of global engineering firm Weidlinger Associates. “PZFlexCloud represents a step change in the way high-fidelity FEA solutions can be accessed by a broad set of users, from large enterprises to innovative departments and individuals.”
By taking advantage of the power and elasticity of cloud computing, PZFlexCloud will permit experienced users to realize unprecedented performance and flexibility of use. An accurate multi-run 3D simulation for piezoelectric and wave propagation analysis that traditionally took 32 days was recently completed with the CliQr platform and PZFlexCloud in just 14 hours, allowing for more test iterations and shorter analysis times. PZFlexCloud also makes advanced FEA available to a broader market. With CliQr and PZFlexCloud, new users who have had to compromise on functionality can now use the PZFlex suite on a pay-as-you-go basis without the costs and complexities of building and maintaining high-cost physical computing resources.
Dr. Banks added, “PZFlexCloud eliminates the longstanding trade-offs between advanced speed, functionality, and approachable economics. Customers can get simplified access and high-performance use of the PZFlex solution without having to design, build, or maintain their own information-technology infrastructure.”
Contributing to PZFlexCloud’s success, the CliQr Technologies CloudCenter platform simplifies the migration and runtime management of the PZFlex software suite without requiring any modification of the leading FEA software.
“CliQr shares Weidlinger’s value and vision to make the most sophisticated cloud solutions approachable and easily manageable,” said Gaurav Manglik, CEO and co-founder of CliQr Technologies. “CliQr understands that software vendors want to take advantage of the cloud while protecting the time and investments they have already made in their core offerings. CliQr provides a complete platform for businesses like Weidlinger and their PZFlex offering, looking for an integrated approach to commercially use the cloud and maintain the ability to flexibly adapt to future changes in the cloud-computing landscape.”
“Scientific and engineering communities are looking for ways to access 3D virtual-prototyping solutions without having to build and maintain their own physical infrastructure,” said Dan Baigent, senior director, Business Development, Cloud Services, HP. “Running on HP Cloud Services, PZFlexCloud provides users with the ability to access PZFlin the cloud in one click".
PZFlex Version 4.0 Released
We’re happy to announce that the new version of PZFlex is ready for delivery.
This year we have continued to improve the basic model building blocks within FlexLAB to help experienced model builders and novices alike. Taking our successful MediFlex toolkit as a starting point we have created a new 2D modeler that allows users to quickly build and test models.
We continue to introduce new tools to aid in design and workflow, as well as improving the existing toolkits.
PZFlex is also working to provide an on-demand software service. This will offer user scalability in compute resources and license usage. More information on this will be available later in the year.
2D Model Builder
This year we have improved our model building capability, by taking the intuitive painting package from the successful MediFlexTM toolkit and creating a standalone drag and drop modeler. This allows users to create simple 2D models in record time and export them to the PZFlex language for execution.
We have overhauled the previous image importer and coupled it to the modeling paint package to allow users to quickly import images, such as MRI and CT as fill for polygons in the painter. This means users can create lifelike propagation paths in next to no time.
ARF in SpectralFlex
Users of the SpectralFlex code can now model Acoustic Radiation Force to examine large 3D tissue models for elastography.
GPU module for Extrapolation
The use of GPUs in high-performance computations has been shown to deliver drastic improvements in calculation speed under certain conditions. In v4.0 PZFlex leverages the power of GPUs to offer even more rapid extrapolation calculations in post-processing. Speed increases of x10 and more are achievable in both time and frequency domain extrapolation of acoustic fields. This feature enables users to deliver large 3D datasets in very manageable time-frames. This enhancement is yet another valuable tool, allowing further streamlining of the design process.
We hope that you enjoy the new version and please feel free to gives us feedback on these features and others you’d like to see in the future via email or the support site at www.pzflex-support.com . The package can be found on our website (www.pzflex.com) via your usual client login as well as the hardcopy that will be mailed to you shortly.
All the best for 2013
PZFlex® 3.0 Adds High Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU) Modeling
“With this release, we introduce a number of features aimed at simplifying the design process,” said PZFlex Director Dr. Robert Banks. “The most innovative addition is the MediFlexTM Toolkit, a simulation program that provides a user-friendly graphical environment to facilitate HIFU modeling.”
HIFU is a promising outpatient cancer treatment, developed in the 1950s, that utilizes heat to destroy tumors. It offers great precision in noninvasive surgical ablation of targeted tissues, along with minimal side effects and reductions in recovery times, patient trauma and pain, and provider cost.
Created in collaboration with researchers from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Food and Drug Administration, and George Washington University, MediFlex is the result of a 2010 SBIR grant awarded to Weidlinger to develop and apply “simplified GUI toolkits for high fidelity simulations of therapeutic ultrasound.”
The Insight visualization tool, first introduced in version 2.4, has also been vastly improved. Newly implemented 3D graphics capability permits users to rotate objects, adjust transparency levels, and remove and examine discrete model segments. (A list of key enhancements is provided below .)
PZFlex sales have steadily increased over the past five years, bolstered in part by a growing international presence. In 2011, the group hired a European consultant and added distributors in China, India, and Russia to the existing ones in Korea, Japan, and Taiwan.
PZFlex developers recently launched www.pzflex-support.com, an online forum in which registered members can ask questions of PZFlex experts, browse a catalog of frequently asked questions, and converse with a community of other users. Samples of functioning low-level models are provided for download from the site.
NEW FEATURES IN PZFLEX 3.0
• The MediFlex Toolkit, employing an industry-standard drawing method, allows designers to simply, quickly, and accurately construct and analyze nonlinear models. The user creates a material palette with which to paint objects, mimicking regions and layers of the body. The program then models the acoustic wave propagation through the simulated body, records the results, and displays the model using the Insight 3D visualization tool.
• The Integrated Design Environment (IDE) is an entirely new editing platform that assists in revision control and provides feedback during model building. IDE enables autocompletion of commands, use of tooltips, insertion of predefined variables and error-checking of SYMB syntax. Integration of the extensive PZFlex command reference and user manuals allows the designer to evoke context sensitive help by simply right clicking within the code.
• Built in Version Control prevent data loss and simplifies the reversal of code modifications by allowing the user to roll back through previous design iterations.
• Acoustic Source allows users to ascertain the combined effect of multiple sources without having to completely model the objects.
• MATLAB export capability permits the export of FLEX® history and DataOUT files to this widely used format. (Win 64 Only)
PZFlex announces 2010 Student Competition Winner
PZFlex® at Weidlinger Associates, Inc., named Shutao Wang, a PhD student at George Washington University in Washington, DC, the winner of the second annual PZFlex Student Innovation Competition. The contest was open to students at academic institutions throughout the world and attracted a diverse group of applicants. It was initiated to “inspire novel uses for PZFlex software in solving today’s complex engineering problems and to advance the use of virtual tools in as many industries as possible.”
Wang plans to use PZFlex to develop new treatments for retinoblastoma, a childhood cancer of the eye that, in the United States, accounts for approximately three percent of all cancers in children under the age of 15. Traditional treatments often result in permanent loss of vision. The goal of his research is to use focused ultrasound for precision delivery of heat-activated chemotherapy drugs to tumor sites, a nonsurgical treatment that can potentially save the eye. Wang will use PZFlex to study how ultrasound moves through the complex structures of the eye on its way to the focal point, to make sure that any treatment is as controlled as possible and other delicate parts of the eye are not damaged. If successful, Wang is hopeful that his research will initiate a broader study into noninvasive treatment of this devastating childhood disease.
PZFlex Director Dr. Paul Reynolds explains that “PZFlex virtual prototyping software is leading the revolution in application development by not only allowing virtual construction of the prototype, but enabling users to economically and accurately determine how that prototype will actually perform, without ever having to build it.”
Wang will use ultrasound similar to that employed in many medical imaging applications, such as fetal monitoring, but at much higher power levels. In the same way that focusing light with a magnifying glass creates a spot of intense heat, focused ultrasound can cause temperature rises in controlled locations. Focusing the ultrasound on a specific cancer site restricts the release of the heat-activated drugs to that location, ensuring the greatest effect on the cancer and minimizing the side effects typically associated with chemotherapy.
“I am very proud to be the winner of the second annual PZFlex student innovation competition,” said Wang. “The program’s excellent time domain analyzing capability will help us to understand how ultrasound waves interact with eye tissues and to facilitate our goal of promoting ocular drug delivery via ultrasound. The PZFlex thermal solver will allow us to gain insights on how hyperthermia can be generated in ocular tumors for targeted drug delivery. I look forward to working with PZFlex staff and involving them in this exciting project.”
Wang is in the final year of his PhD studies in the department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (biomedical engineering focused) with Professor Vesna Zderic, PhD, at George Washington University. He is expected to complete his proposed research in a year and to publish his results with assistance from the contest’s sponsors. As the contest winner, Wang will be presented with a state-of-the-art laptop computer and a one-year license of the PZFlex simulation software with which to advance his stated research goals.
Weidlinger® Receives Tibbetts Award from U.S. Small Business Administration for Advancing Technological Innovation with its PZFlex® Software
The U.S. engineering firm Weidlinger Associates®, Inc., developers of PZFlex® received a Tibbetts Award from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).
The Tibbetts Awards honor outstanding small businesses and individuals who participate in the SBA’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. The Tibbetts Awards, named after Roland Tibbetts, who was instrumental in developing the SBIR program, are presented to companies and individuals from all over the United States who are beacons of promise and models of excellence in high technology. Tibbetts award winners are selected based on the economic impact of their technological innovation, and on whether they have met federal research and development needs, encouraged diverse participation in technological innovation, and increased the commercialization of federal research.
Weidlinger’s Applied Science & Investigations group initially developed PZFlex in 1992, sponsored by a Phase I/II National Science Foundation SBIR grant. The software quickly became the premier tool of the ultrasound and piezoelectric industries. The tool’s developers, based in Mountain View, California, continued to expand its technical capabilities, applicability to other industries, and user base. Nineteen years later, creative engineers throughout the world use PZFlex to develop new products. The software’s export sales per year, particularly in Europe and Japan, now exceed the value of the original grants.
"Participation in the SBIR program has been the cornerstone of our strategy for innovation within Weidlinger Associates. This allows us to address important problems for our federal government customers and to adapt our technology to benefit the private sector as well," said Weidlinger's President and CEO, Raymond Daddazio.
Large discounts to academic institutions and support of student research ensure that the software is state-of-the-art and suited to diverse areas of research. Students who are trained using PZFlex typically graduate to industry positions, broadening the software’s exposure and applicability and strengthening relationships between the academic and business communities.
“PZFlex exemplifies everything that the SBIR program was designed to do—take a creative technical idea, bring it to practice, ensure a U.S. technological advantage, and use it to grow a business,” said PZFlex Business Group Director and Weidlinger Associate Principal Dr. Paul Reynolds. “Because our software can be applied across a wide range of industries—aerospace, telecom, wireless, medical, and alternative energy, to name a few—we view it as a tool that will continue to propel advancement in emerging technologies.”
Dr. Reynolds accepted the award at a February 15 ceremony held in Washington, DC, which was followed by a reception at the White House for award recipients.
Weidlinger’s application for the award was supported by long-term users from around the world, some of whom became acquainted with PZFlex as graduate students. They included engineers from major ultrasound transducer companies (General Electric, Philips Healthcare, Siemens Healthcare, and Hitachi Ltd.), as well as SONAR (Alba Ultrasound, Material Systems Inc.), other healthcare (Medicis Technologies), and bioinformatics (Sonavation, Inc.) companies. PZFlex distributors in Japan (CTC), and universities in the United States (USC).
WAI Complete Phase 1 of the MediFlexTM Toolkit Module for Focused Ultrasound Surgery for NIH
WAI recently delivered their first version of their first graphical toolkit for MediFlexTM, the suite of tools aimed at biological and medical applications, to simplify the planning and research of focused ultrasound surgery (FUS). FUS concentrates acoustic waves to small points, causing intense heating and destruction of tissue, just as a magnifying glass does with sunlight. Applications in cancer therapy and other non-invasive surgeries are on the increase, and are predicted to improve outcomes and reduce healing time over traditional surgical methods. With the Toolkit, researchers can quickly test new FUS regimes, learning the most appropriate ways to treat each condition.
This Toolkit was developed as part of an NIH funded SBIR grant, targetting advanced numerical simulation tools and methods to bring their power into the hands to medical and biological researchers. "We are delighted to deliver MediFlex to our partners at George Washington University, as well as to the FDA. This is the first of many modules that will allow medical researchers to quickly access the power of advanced computer simulations without extensive training times" said Dr Paul Reynolds, Director of the PZFlex Business Unit at WAI.
PZFlex® 2.4 Release
New Version Adds better visualization of modelled results
Mountain View, CA – January 21, 2011 – PZFlex® announced the release of a new version of its virtual prototyping software for commercial and academic use. PZFlex 2.4 includes new graphic visualization toolkits for extrapolation and post processing.
PZFlex brings sophisticated modeling to desktops and is indispensable to a variety of industries. The software was originally developed in the 1980s by international engineering firm Weidlinger Associates®, Inc. to model ultrasonic probes.
“Our aim is to make life easier for creative engineers in every industry. We’ve taken our knowledge of finite element modeling and typical devices, and we’ve upgraded the software to capture the essence of the problems many product design teams face,” said PZFlex Business Group Director Dr. Paul Reynolds. “PZFlex software’s power and accuracy clears the path for advancements in emerging technologies, including wireless, environmental and medical.”
To view the full list of PZFlex v2.4 updates, click here
Discounted pricing for PZFlex is available for academic use. For larger modeling problems, a stand-alone SPFlex module available with PZFlex serves the growing field of medical therapeutics, providing accurate modeling of wave propagation over thousands of wavelengths in all acoustic media (air, water, and tissue).
For PZFlex product support and sales, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call (650) 230 0210 (U.S.) or +44 (0)141 303 8303 (Europe).
PZFlex® Provides Ultrasound Modeling for Promising Cancer Treatment
The University of Leeds announced on June 28, 2010, that they had received funding from the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council to establish proof of concept for a highly innovative method of applying chemotherapy directly to cancerous sites within the body. As developers of PZFlex, the world’s leading ultrasound modeling software, Weidlinger Associates, Inc. (www.wai.com) provided consulting services for the proposal and was named to the advisory board of the five-year project. The project involves many of the University’s medical and scientific faculties, the companies Epigem and Precision Acoustics, and the charity Leeds and West Riding Medical Research.
The Leeds team is proposing that existing chemotherapy drugs be carried inside the tiny gas-filled microbubbles, one millionth of a meter across, that are routinely injected into the bloodstream to obtain clearer ultrasound images (they reflect a stronger signal than the surrounding tissue). A surface chemical or antibody would cause these nanospheres to attach to the targeted region or tumor.
The normally robust bubbles will be subjected to ultrasound frequencies that cause them to vibrate and break apart, which in turn will cause the membranes of the targeted cells to rupture temporarily and fill up with a manageable but effective drug dose. This localized approach should reduce the harm caused to the body by these toxic drugs, as any unburst bubbles are excreted naturally. It will also help technicians reach heretofore inaccessible tumor sites. The bubbles, made from lipids filled with a heavy “fluorocarbon” gas, do not easily dissolve in the bloodstream.
For the full story, click here.
The PZFlex® software group at Weidlinger Associates Inc., announced that Andrew Dawson, a PhD student at the School of Chemical and Physical Sciences, Victoria University of Wellington,
New Zealand, won the first annual PZFlex Student Innovation Competition. The contest was initiated to “inspire novel uses for PZFlex software in solving today’s complex engineering problems” and to advance the use of virtual tools in as many industries as possible. The highly versatile and adaptable virtual prototyping software addresses primary markets totaling hundreds of billions of dollars worldwide. PZFlex users Dr. Charles DeSilets, CTO at Liposonix, Inc., and Dr. Rainer Schmitt, CTO at Sonovation served as
judges, along with PZFlex Director Dr. Paul Reynolds.