3D rivals battle at RSNA 2008

December 1, 2008

Competition among vendors hawking advanced visualization tools has heated up on the RSNA 2008 exhibit floor with offerings from standard-bearer Vital Images, newcomers ZioStation and FiatLux, and perennial rivals TeraRecon and Visage Imaging.

Competition among vendors hawking advanced visualization tools has heated up on the RSNA 2008 exhibit floor with offerings from standard-bearer Vital Images, newcomers ZioStation and FiatLux, and perennial rivals TeraRecon and Visage Imaging.

Vital Images launched a web-enabled suite of advanced applications ported from its workstation. Vitrea Web allows ViTAL Enterprise customers to run best-of-breed clinical applications from any PC connected to the Internet, according to the company. It supports integration with PACS and EMR offerings via a standard interface. The technology, optimized for low-bandwidth connections, allows access from remote sites, such as a radiologist's home office.

Ziostation unveiled a web extension of its thin-client 3D system at the company's booth. Ziostation Web works with virtually any web browser and requires no client software or plug-ins, according to the firm. It offers 3D analysis and real-time collaboration tools. Original and saved images, as well as reports, can be shared by authorized users from a centralized source. When the company unveiled its thin-client product last spring, it noted that a web-enabled product was in the works. At this RSNA meeting, the company will also feature upgrades to the thin-client ZioStation system, including works-in-progress 4D CT brain perfusion and MR cardiac function analysis tools.

FiatLux Imaging is showcasing its Visualize software, which leverages DirectX game programming protocols to run on off-the-shelf PCs and laptops outfitted with standard graphics cards. The company is selling the new product for under $3000 as an affordable and portable alternative to expensive dedicated 3D/2D processing workstations.

TeraRecon has framed its Aquarius-WEB viewer as the way to spread advanced visualization beyond the traditional bounds of healthcare practices to referring physicians and into the homes of radiologists, where access is often constrained by bandwidth. The browser-based viewer uses JavaScript to deliver images over the Internet. Images can be viewed on desktops, laptops, or even PDAs.

Visage Imaging wants to "turbo-charge" PACS through the addition of advanced visualization tools. The company is selling not only to OEMs, but also directly to end users. The reason for the direct sales, however, is mostly to catch the eye of PACS companies. Visage is a subsidiary of Mercury Computer Systems, a long-time supplier to imaging OEMs of computing accelerators and other electronic components built into CT and MR scanners. About four years ago, the company began looking for ways to expand its reach in the medical imaging industry, choosing PACS and IT as the means to gain ground. Its thin-client Visage CS makes quick work of volumetric data sets and allows access to the images across the enterprise and beyond, according to the company.