Acuson to show Sequoia/Aspen combo

December 4, 1996

Acuson will emphasize its one-two punch of new ultrasound scanners, Sequoia and Aspen. The Mountain View, CA, vendor debutedSequoia in April and followed up with the launch of Aspen in October(SCAN 5/8/96 and 11/6/96). The two systems share some

Acuson will emphasize its one-two punch of new ultrasound scanners, Sequoia and Aspen. The Mountain View, CA, vendor debutedSequoia in April and followed up with the launch of Aspen in October(SCAN 5/8/96 and 11/6/96).

The two systems share some technologies, but the chief differencebetween them lies in their respective beamformer architectures.Sequoia 512 employs what Acuson calls a coherent imageformer totransmit and receive ultrasound signals. The 512-channel coherentimageformer takes as its input the output of multiple beamformers,and is capable of processing both the amplitude and phase dataof an ultrasound signal, according to Rick Smith, vice presidentof general imaging business operations.

The use of a coherent imageformer results in improved imagequality, particularly in color-flow imaging, according to thecompany. Sequoia's SST Color offers improvements in sensitivity,spatial resolution, and frame rates. Other features of Sequoiainclude its DIMAQ on-board DICOM-compatible workstation for digitalimage management.

Aspen has some of Sequoia's features, such as the DIMAQ workstation,but uses a 128-channel beamformer based on Acuson's older 128XP/10 technology. Acuson has revamped the architecture aroundthe beamformer to provide fully digital control of the ultrasoundsignal.

Aspen also includes a new color Doppler technology not foundon Sequoia: Convergent Color Doppler, which melds conventionalDoppler with amplitude-based Doppler to allow clinicians to visualizeboth modes simultaneously. Aspen will be priced between $150,000and $250,000, and Acuson expects shipments to begin by year-end.

While the new scanners now overshadow Acuson's venerable 128XP/10 system, the vendor plans to continue to offer the product,albeit at a lower price point, and to continue to produce upgradesfor the system's sizable installed base. One such upgrade to beunveiled at the RSNA meeting is Extended Frequency, an upgradefor 128 XP/10 ART/TCR scanners that improves image quality athigher frequencies, up to 10 MHz.

In the ultrasound miniPACS realm, Acuson will show work onimproving the DICOM connectivity of its products: It will displaydirect DICOM signals out the back of Sequoia, as well as a DICOMinterface for the Aegis image management system that will allowusers to dispense with interface boxes.