ATL raises stakes in premium ultrasound with HDI 3000 release

October 26, 1994

High-end scanner stands at top of vendor's product line AdvancedTechnology Laboratories is not waiting until the RadiologicalSociety of North America meeting to roll out new products. TheBothell, WA, vendor made a major product introduction

High-end scanner stands at top of vendor's product line

AdvancedTechnology Laboratories is not waiting until the RadiologicalSociety of North America meeting to roll out new products. TheBothell, WA, vendor made a major product introduction this monthwith the debut of HDI 3000, the company's new premium ultrasoundsystem.

HDI 3000 represents the fourth generation of ATL's all-digitalultrasound technology. ATL redesigned its technology from thewheels up for the new system, according to president David Perozek.To develop HDI 3000, ATL went to customers for their opinionson improving the company's existing scanner design. Based on theirfeedback, ATL focused on improvements in three areas: image quality,mobility and ease of use.

HDI 3000 features new hardware and software architecture toimprove image quality, such as a redesigned digital beamformerbased on a new generation of application-specific integrated circuits(ASICs). With regard to signal processing, ATL has retooled itsdigital filters to make them more versatile and programmable.HDI 3000 features all-digital 64-channel architecture, like ATL'sUltramark 9 HDI system.

Many ATL users wanted more mobility from premium scanners,so the company redesigned its wheel and suspension technologyand in general made the system more compact and lightweight. HDI3000 weighs 380 pounds and features specially designed wheels,with a suspension system independent of each wheel, to make iteasier to move.

HDI 3000's software architecture is a departure from the proprietaryoperating systems used on many scanners. For the first time, ATLhas developed a scanner operating on an open software platform.HDI 3000 runs on a Unix operating system with an X-Windows userinterface. ATL believes that moving to an open architecture willbring payoffs down the road by putting the scanner on the samedevelopment curve as state-of-the-art computer technology. ATLalso borrowed from the computer industry in adopting a high-resolutionnon-interlaced display rather than a standard TV display.

Also new on HDI 3000 is a function the vendor has dubbed tissuespecific imaging (TSI). TSI is designed to speed exam setup timeby providing users with dozens of predetermined settings thatoptimize the scanner's parameters for the type of examinationbeing conducted, Perozek said. Users simply select the exam froma menu and the system automatically adjusts up to 200 imagingparameters.

The system supports all major modes of ultrasound imaging,Perozek said, with cardiac features scheduled to begin shippingnext year. HDI 3000 will also support Color Power Angio Imaging,ATL's power-mode Doppler technique formerly known as Doppler PowerImaging. The scanner ships with ATL's extended signal processing(ESP) technology as a standard feature. HDI 3000 received 510(k)clearance from the Food and Drug Administration this month.

The release of HDI 3000 creates another price point in ATL'sgrowing product line. The scanner will be positioned above Ultramark9 HDI, which will continue to be offered. At the mid-range levelis Apogee 800, obtained through ATL's acquisition of Interspec(SCAN 7/27/94). Filling the ob/gyn segment is Ultramark 4.

"For quite some time we had two poles in our product linethat were greatly separated," Perozek said. "We hadUltramark 4 at the low end, and at the other end we had Ultramark9 HDI. Now we've filled in the line vertically."