Displays Show Their Stuff

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As PACS hoists its sail - now reaching a wider variety of healthcare facilities including smaller sites and imaging centers and expanding the girth of radiology in healthcare enterprises - display manufacturers are helping to accelerate and make easier soft-copy reading with monitors that meet the needs of a plethora of hospital departments and imaging facilities. The range of resolution and price points to match didn't take all the buzz at RSNA this year, display manufacturers also showed improvements to QA software that helps ease the burden of essential display calibration, and let QA administrators rest a little sounder at night.

Radiology, as well as other clinical specialties, is moving toward liquid crystal display (LCD) technology over cathode ray tube (CRT) technology, and every display vendor featured these aesthetic counterparts. Vendors touted lower resolution displays and self-calibrating color monitors with the same look and feel as their grayscale, mega-pixel brothers. And with internal sensors and calibration software raising eyebrows, developers of medical grade monitors are introducing new consoles that permit display calibration from one centralized location, and even remotely from a PDA.

(Note: companies appear in alphabetical order.)



Ampronix Inc. highlighted its new True View Stereoscopic that combines CT images and presurgical planning for added dimension and depth.

The extra visual dimension allows users to better analyze complex structures, plan surgery, map geographical data and simulate experiences in virtual reality. Physicians can use their CAD model while working with it or can hook up a stereo camera or endoscope to the computer and see real-time 2D video.



Barco
came to RSNA with enhancements to its medical imaging display line and QA software, such as a new display controller for Coronis, PDA-supported calibration software and a new distribution agreement with SourceOne.
   
Barco showed that its Coronis display systems equipped with new, high-speed BarcoMed Coronis, 10-bit digital display controllers that render complete data sets with 1024 simultaneous levels of gray. The dual-head display controller features 64-bit, 66 Mhz PCI performance and image download speeds of more than 400-megabyte per second, the company said.
   
Also new is Barco's Coronis 2-megapixel (MP) display with 1600x1200 resolution. Featuring IPS (in-plane switching) technology, several viewers can look at the display screen from different positions. The response time and high on-axis contrast ratio of Coronis 2MP make it suitable for displaying moving images.
    
In the QA realm, Barco featured its FDA cleared MediCal Administrator 2.05 with support for PDAs (personal digital assistants). The system lets administrators access all medical display systems throughout the healthcare enterprise via PDA, essentially controlling checkups from any remote location. Also, the new MediCal Administrator allows Pocket PC users to view information about each display system and the QA tasks performed, along with a status overview of all displays in the hospital.
   
Additional enhancements to the MediCal Administrator software include improved reporting capabilities and notification through industry-standard simple network management protocol (SNMP). While the reporting feature allows QA administrators to export all their QA data reports to familiar formats, such as Excel and PDF, the customized notification and reporting system permits automatic notification via SNMP whenever one of the display systems performs below standard.
   
Medical imaging equipment supplier SourceOne Healthcare Technologies Inc. and Barco also revealed at RSNA a national distribution agreement. Concurrent with the agreement, SourceOne will offer Barco's full line of medical display systems to customers throughout the United States.



Double Black Imaging (DBI) bulked up its M-series with the addition of a 1.3MP monochrome monitor. DBI also introduced a new line of self-calibrating color displays that include a 1.3MP, 2MP and 3MP model.
   
DBI added the 1.3MP self-calibrating display to its M-Series line (which includes 2MP, 3MP and 5MP models). The IF1901M 1.3MP, 9-inch high-bright monochrome LCD features a built-in DICOM curve and preset brightness settings to ensure stability. The IF1901M delivers luminance of 700 cd/m2 and a high contrast ratio of 550:1. The IF1901M replaces most existing review or modality CRT monitors and accepts analog, digital, S-Video or VCR inputs.
   
DBI's WIDE M series features an electronic front sensor that emerges from the bezel then retracts when calibration is complete, eliminating any permanent protrusion into the active area of the LCD. In addition, all of the monitors have integrated backlight sensors that assure backlight consistency and minimize fluctuations in brightness caused by internal and environmental temperatures.
   
These displays are designed for use with DBI's automatic calibration software and remote calibration software. The Remote Administrator software allows each display to be remotely calibrated and monitored from a central workstation, send notifications to the central workstation or administrator when the LCD requires service and allows the administrator to adjust and perform DICOM 3.14 calibration on each LCD from the remote location.
   
DBI introduced a new line of self-calibrating color LCDs with retractable front sensors for automatic calibration. The IF1901C is a 1.3MP, 19-inch high-bright color LCD that delivers a luminance of 270 cd/m2 and a high contrast ratio of 500:1. The IF2102C is a 2MP 21.3-inch LCD with a brightness of 250 cd/m2 and a contrast ratio of 500:1. The display accepts analog, digital, S-Video or VCR inputs.
   
The IF2103C is a 3MP, 20.8-inch diagonal color LCD that is optimized by a high performance dual-head digital graphic controller. The IF2103C delivers luminance of 235 cd/m2 and a contrast ratio of 300:1.



Eizo Nanao Technologies Inc. highlighted at RSNA its RadiForce G22 monchrome LCD and RadiNET Pro, a network QA management software for monitors distributed throughout a hospital.

The 2MP 19.6-inch monitor produces 1,024 simultaneous grayscale tones from a palette of 3,061. The display is suitable for interpretation of CT, DSA and MRI studies Eizo offers a choice of graphics boards with 10-bit output and a DVI-D port for an all-digital connection. The G22 features a new Super-IPS panel that offers 170 degree viewing angles and minimal changes in contrast when viewed from off-center. The monitor is rated at having 800 cd/m2 brightness and 600:1 contrast ratio. The system is compatible with Eizo's RadiCS GX2 calibration kit.

Eizo's RadiNET Pro software is designed for mid- to large-sized facilities, offers a number of technical features such as a web-based interface, network simultaneous calibration and Windows 2000 server compatibility. The software can manage a network of up to 8,000 monitors, generate reports for DIN, AAPM and JIS standards, and provide asset management of PCs, graphics boards and monitors.

RadiNET Pro stores the history data from each monitor on the server and provides immediate access to this data. Administrators can recognize potential problems and manage the displays remotely.



Image Systems Corp. announced at RSNA that the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) is in the process of rolling out its medical grade LCDs with its CFS (calibration feedback system) for centralized QA management.
   
Image Systems' CFS provides "hands free" automated display calibration of its medical viewing monitors throughout a facility. The closed loop system has a built-in scheduler that provides the ability, when used with Image Systems' LCD displays, to test and calibrate displays during off-hours without human intervention. This test information can be automatically archived into a central database providing a verifiable record of compliance testing.



Matrox featured additions to its RAD series of display controllers, including the new RAD2mp PCI Express board and RAD2mp Low Profile board. The company also demonstrated its MED Series and TheatreVUE Series boards in a variety of display resolutions such as 2MP, 3MP and 5MP.
   
Matrox's Low Profile RAD2mp board and RAD2mp Express board both offer dual output support of up to 2MP and 3MP grayscale or color, analog or digital displays and come equipped with Hardware Pivot for smooth and accelerated portrait image displays. The boards are capable of driving various combinations of color and grayscale displays in stretched or independent modes. All RAD Series boards feature Matrox's real-time grayscale processing technology, ExtendiGray.
   
Designed for diagnostic imaging, Matrox's MED Series of display controllers are designed for a range of application areas including PACS, x-ray, CT, MRI and DR. Based on Matrox's 512-bit chip architecture, the Matrox MED Series features 10-bit capabilities, and supports a variety of grayscale displays.
   
Matrox's TheatreVUE Series can clone the primary display to a projector (or similar large screen display device), making them appropriate for theatre-style classrooms and operating rooms, Matrox said. The TheatreVUE display projection controllers have the ability to drive a primary output of up to 2MP analog or 3MP digital in portrait or landscape, grayscale or color modes, and clone any portion of the primary display onto an analog projector at up to 2MP.



National Display Systems was at RSNA highlighting its new AXIS I and II radiology displays as well as its new PrimeVue 2MP and 3MP color displays.
   
AXIS I and AXIS II (1.3 and 2MP respectively) have six factory preset calibration settings and one user-definable luminance/contrast ratio, all without the need for a light meter. Calibration settings can be changed instantly with National Display's MD-Cal calibration software.
   
National Display introduced its new PrimeVue 2MP and 3MP color monitors slated for release in January. The 2MP color display is rated at 400cd/m2 with DICOM compliance from 200 to 400cd/m2 from any commercial video card with digital output (DVI-I, 3x8-bit). The 20.1 inch MVA technology UXGA (1600x1200) AM-LCD (active matrix liquid crystal display) provides off-axis viewing and color saturation. Coupled with National Display's proprietary internal grayscale calibration features, the PrimeVue 2MP provides DICOM luminance response and grayscale accuracy from a 1786 step pallet. The display is suitable for PET/CT imaging, MRI and ultrasound studies.
   
The PrimeVue 3MP color display is a dual-domain technology (DIPS) color QXGA system. The display is rated at 325 cd/m2 with DICOM compliance from 200 and 325 cd/m2 from the RealVision 3MP video card at True-Color 24-bit accuracy. National Display said the system is designed to serve as a primary reading workstation. Coupled with the company's proprietary internal grayscale calibration features, the PrimeVue 3MP provides DICOM luminance response and grayscale accuracy form a 3062 step pallet.



NEC-Mitsubishi Electronics Display of America Inc. used RSNA to highlight its just- launched 2MP and 3MP MultiSync MD series LCD displays.
   
The 21-inch medical grade monitors feature X-light technology. X-light has the ability to control and adjust the luminance and whitepoint via an integrated fast-feedback internal backlight sensor, which continuously monitors and realigns these settings to maintain the factory calibration throughout the life of the monitor. Because X-light-equipped monitors are calibrated for the same whitepoint during production, any Multisync MD series monitor can be quickly matched, swapped or replaced with another. This feature benefits large radiology departments which typically use and frequently reconfigure dual and multi-screen monitor configurations, the company said.
   
In addition to X-light technology, the NEC MultiSync MD monitors are equipped with a built-in calibrator. The SA Superfine TFT glass with 2MP or 3MP resolution delivers a wide viewing angle of up to 176 degrees as well as anti-glare and low reflection. The displays are bundled with multiple look up tables (LUTs). Pre-set gamma settings are instantly changeable by using stored LUTS in monitor memory. Four user selections are available: DICOM, log-linear, 2.2 and 1.8.
   
Quality Control and calibration/matching also can be accomplished using GammaComp MD calibration and conformance software. GammaComp MD can be used to make sure the monitor conforms to the DICOM standard. Optionally, GammaCompMD Administrator provides centralized control and management of multiple display systems.



Planar Systems showcased at RSNA a new management console application for centralized display calibration.

The Dome Dashboard, a software console application which enables PACS administrators and IT managers to centrally manage, control and report on their entire line of Dome medical imaging displays. The Dome Dashboard works in conjunction with Planar's Dome CXtra calibration software which is included with all Dome medical-imaging display systems (Dome CX, QX and PX lines, and the Dome Surgery Review Cart). Dome CXtra ensures that every Planar display is calibrated to the DICOM standard, and that display settings, such as backlight and contrast adjustment, are maintained.

With Planar's Dome Dashboard, alerts can be set up to immediately page the PACS administrator when a display changes in any unexpected way, whether the display shuts down or is out of DICOM conformance, or when a scheduled maintenance interval passes. The Dome Dashboard also allows administrators to view display parameters which CXtra manages-including brightness, DICOM performance results and other display characteristics-from one centralized location.

In addition, Planar announced new Dome P1 and P2 bundles that are ideal for displays needed in clinical settings, such as nursing stations and physicians offices. The PX bundles include a complete DICOM calibrated display set of two monitors, graphics card, driver, integrated software and all cables. The bundles are supported by Dome CXtra desktop edition software.



Quest International Inc. highlighted at RSNA the fruits of its recently inked agreement with NEC-Mitsubishi Electronics Display.
   
Quest exhibited NEC's MultiSync MD series medical displays as well as the MultiSync LCD 80 series and the NEC 40-inch and 30-inch large-screen LCDs. Quest is now a value-added reseller for these systems.
   
Quest also had on board Totoku's MD line of medical imaging LCDs that range from 1.3 to 5MP grayscale and color configurations.



Richardson Electronics featured at RSNA a new line of privacy LCD displays that are available in sizes ranging from 14- to 21-inches and display resolutions from 1024x768 to 1600x1200.
   
The HIPAA-compliant privacy monitors protect the security and confidentiality of patient information with regard to patients' medical records and other health information provided to health plans, doctors, hospitals and other healthcare providers. Privacy LCD monitors enables a clear view of on-screen confidential information only to the person positioned directly in front of the monitor. From any other angle, others see a dark, blank screen. Applications for the healthcare market include: administration, nursing stations, pharmacies and receptions areas.
   


Siemens Display Technologies featured at RSNA two versions of its SMfit ACT calibration software. On the hardware side of things, Siemens said its shipping its 1MP 3D monitor and has in the R&D pipeline 1MP and 2MP LCDs for medical imaging environments.
   
Siemens highlighted two versions of its calibration software, SMfit ACT (automatic calibration tool). For centralized calibration of medical imaging displays, SMfit ACT Calibration calibrates monochrome displays as well as color CRT and LCD displays. For this purpose, a universal luminance meter has been developed. SMfit ACT Remote offers calibration of remotely installed displays. Both versions make use of an internal sensor in the Siemens monitor or a serial photometer.
   
Siemens said it's now shipping the SXD? 1899 1MP 18.1-inch 3D color flat-panel display that debuted at RSNA 2003. The monitor is capable of displaying 3D images without the need for special viewing aids. A wide viewing angle and antiglare technology permits multiple users to stand around the display and view the image. Applications include CT angiography, MRI, ultrasound and nuclear medicine studies.
   
As a works in progress, Siemens highlighted its SCD 21205 2MP 21.3-inch color LCD display as well as its SCD 19100 1MP 19-inch color LCD display. The 1 and 2MP monitors feature high contrast even under high ambient light conditions found in the OR and ER. The gamma curve is exactly matched to CIE/DICOM recommendation. Light output is ensured by controlled backlight throughout the lifetime of the monitor. The color LCDs also are supported by Siemens' SMfit ACT software. Also, Siemens featured its model SCD 19105, 19-inch 1MP cost-efficient color display with the same look and feel as the Siemens display family.  


  
US Electronics Inc. (USEI) showcased two new Totuku 3MP monitors at RSNA. The Totoku model ME351i-Gray and CCL350i-Color 20.8-inch 3MP portrait/landscape LCD monitors feature high-contrast, high-brightness and front panel calibration sensors. The displays deliver fast response times, gamma correction and 10bit built-in LUT as well as DICOM calibration from a palette of 1021 gradations. Luminance stabilization is accomplished through Totoku's "High Precision Lambda Sentinel II" circuitry.