Displays see a new light

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There was nothing plain about the displays and related software on display at RSNA 2003. From new color 3D monitors to remote calibration software technology, vendors are gearing up their product lines to provide hospitals and imaging centers the best devices possible for soft-copy interpretation. The show floor was abundant with slimmed-down monitors, making it apparent that the industry is ready to adopt flat-panel liquid crystal displays (LCDs) as the new monitor of choice.


 In its first showing to the world,  Data Ray Corp. unveiled ADCal 11, a 3MP monochrome LCD with more than 7,000 shades of gray and self-calibrating techniques called auto display calibration. The flat panel is designed to detect 7,141 (12.8 bit) gray shades for static image mode and 1,786 (10.8 bit) for cinema mode. The company also exhibited its comprehensive line of Precision LCDs, which include 1,2 and 5MP flat panel self-calibrating monitors.


 Barco also brought color to its Coronis family, in the sense that the company will now offer a 2MP 20.1-inch color LCD that is compatible with 2D and 3D applications for softcopy environments. The display is appropriate for a variety of medical applications, including PACS, ultrasound, orthopedic imaging, cardiology, ophthalmology, dermatology, nuclear medicine and PET.

 Barco's color 2MP LCD also can display grayscale images, comes equipped with the company's built-in color I-Guard technology and is compatible with MediCal Administrator software for remote calibration.

 Barco also showcased its DICOM-compliant projection system called DICOM Theater. Released at last year's RSNA and gaining momentum, the system bundles a high brightness medical grade projector, flat-panel display, dedicated BarcoMed greyscale imaging board and management software for large screen consulting, reviewing and training applications. If a dark environment is unavailable, Barco has also offers a DICOM Theatre rear projection system for ambient settings.

 
Eizo Nanao Technologies used RSNA to springboard three new products added to its RadiForce series. R22, Eizo's 2MP color LCD monitor, is intended for CT, MRI and PET applications. Features include DICOM image modes with both clear base and blue base settings and a factory adjusted gamma curve. The monitors can be used with a choice of graphic boards and the company says it will soon have a calibration kit available for the color monitors (spring 2004).

 The company also highlighted its much-anticipated RadiForce 5MP G51 and 3MP G31. Both models are equipped with an 11.5-bit Look-Up Table for a palette of 3,061 grayscale tones from which 1,024 can be displayed simultaneously. At the time of the launching, Eizo announced that it will be offering Matrox Graphic Inc.'s MED series of graphics boards alongside the VREngine series it has been supplying since last year for bundling with RadiForce monitors.

 
Siemens A&D Display Technologies unveiled Extreme 3D Display (X3D) created as a cooperative effort with 3D-developer X3D Technologies of New York City. The 18-inch medical-grade display offers users a number of advantages, including the ability to plan interventions with 3D models in real X3D visualization. Three-dimensional imaging apply for nearly all types of medical imaging, including angiography, CT, MRI and ultrasound.

 
Ampronix Inc. highlighted a desktop 3D LCD display at RSNA 2003. The display - produced by SeeReal Technologies GmbH and marketed and distributed by Ampronix - offers high-resolution images without the use of polarization or glasses of any sort.

 
SeeReal presented its current 18.1-inch display generation last year, with its intelligent tracking system designed to offer the user freedom of movement in front of the display without restricting the 3D impression. Cameras constantly check the position of the viewer's eyes and adjust the 3D visualization accordingly. SeeReal also presented a new 20-inch display in November 2003; the prototype provides a maximum resolution of 1600 x 1200 pixels - up to five times higher than that of conventional displays.

 
NEC-Mitsubishi Electronics Display showcased its future line of medical-grade LCDs, pegged for shipment by summer 2004. The release will include the company's new NEC MultiSync MD monitor line of a 21.3" color 2MP display and a 21.3" grayscale 3MP display.

 "We do have an eighty series which we sell into PACS and we have progressed with other OEMs to develop this line that is medically certified, which stands them apart from our other IT products," said Todd M. Fender, senior product manager.

 "We could have come out with these a couple years ago but we didn't think the timing was right. Price points have dropped dramatically in this part of the industry to where they have become more and more affordable for hospitals. Six years ago we had a 20-inch priced at $7,999, right now the 20-inch is available for $1,500," Fender said.

 The new flat-panel monitors for medical imaging will feature built-in backlight technology and calibration techniques, multiple lookup tables and GammaComp, a 10-bit gamma correction process built into the firmware of the monitor.


 Image Systems Corp. was on board at RSNA this year with a new offering, Calibration Feedback System (CFS), a local and network addressable display calibration system for use with the company's family of flat panel, grayscale LCDs. DICOM conformance is ensured through utilization of the hands-free calibration software, which also features support for multi-monitor configuration, background backlight stability verification, documentation and adjustment, as well as integrated light sensors.

 
Planar Systems highlighted the latest addition to its family of flat-panel displays, Adara Qx. Offering both two and three mega pixel (MP) versions, the Adara Qx line is a family of referral quality grayscale displays calibrated to the DICOM (Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine) standard and intended for general medical viewing. Described as a "cost-effective platform," the displays allow a variety of healthcare professionals to review quality grayscale images throughout the healthcare environment.

 Planar announced at the show that its CXtra software will now be available for the Adara Qx displays, in addition to the company's line of Dome Cx liquid crystal displays (LCDs) and desktop monitors. Ensuring that the displays conform to DICOM, CXtra software enables remote calibration of enterprise-wide monitors.

 
Newcomer Double Black Imaging (DBI) was at RSNA to show off its new lineup of display products. The Westminster, Colo.-based company distributes and services Wide LCDs systems to the U.S. medical imaging market.

 DBI showcased its new calibration technology, Remote Administrative software that provides healthcare professionals remote calibration capability since each display connected to the network can be monitored from a central workstation. The company's IF1801A is a 1.3MP, 18.1-inch monochrome LCD that accepts analog, digital, S-Video or VCR inputs. It features a built-in DICOM curve and preset brightness settings to ensure stability. In addition, DBI unveiled its newest addition of offerings, a line of self-calibrating 2MP, 3MP and 5MP LCDs equipped with an electronic sensor that emerges from the bezel and retracts when calibration is complete.

 
Matrox Graphics Inc., headquartered in Montreal, Canada, arrived at the show ready to make public a number of company announcements. Matrox revealed that its MED series of display controllers has been fused with ComMedica's image viewer copy software. ComMedica's image viewer - that can handle all DICOM files from any modality -- provides users with an extensive list of drawing, manipulation and 3D tools along with full modality work list support and query retrieve.

 In addition, the company announced that Quest International is shipping its MED series display controllers with various Totoku MD Series grayscale and color LCD displays, including the MD315L 3MP and MD511L 5MP displays. Siemens A & D Display technologies has also chosen to use Matrox's graphic boards as a high-end option for Siemens' line of medical displays, including its 2MP (SMD19200), 3MP (SMD21300) and 5MP (SMD21500) flat-panel displays.

 Matrox's display controllers, the MED2mp-DVI, MED3mp-DVI, MED5mp-DVI and MED5mp, are intended for a variety of color and grayscale models with analog and digital display support. The MED series boards come equipped with Matrox's multi-monitor features, such as multi-pivot/portrait, and optimum image quality.

 
Quest International, distributor of Totoku Medical Imaging LCDs, followed RSNA with a number of new product announcements. The company is now offering a 21.3-inch 2MP grayscale LCD, ME213L, which has a 10-bit lookup table for accurate DICOM calibration, analog and digital inputs and a maximum luminance of 1,500cd/m_. Introducing CCL212L, the color LCD is a 2MP display with a 500:1 contrast ratio suitable for most medical imaging applications that require color. Also, Quest launched a new software package for management of Totoku displays, the PM Medivisor. PM Medivisor tracks, monitors and reports data for each Totoku display within a facility via a client-server interface.