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Barco bundles MediCal software for image display quality assurance


Company is in OEM talks with PACS firm ApplicareBelgian monitor manufacturer Barco last month began shipping a new line of displays that include a novel quality assurance software package. Called MediCal, the package enables users to calibrate

Company is in OEM talks with PACS firm Applicare

Belgian monitor manufacturer Barco last month began shipping a new line of displays that include a novel quality assurance software package. Called MediCal, the package enables users to calibrate their monitors and track monitor performance over time, thus ensuring the consistency of soft-copy images read on PACS networks.

MediCal is a Windows NT-based program that uses an X-Rite optical sensor placed on a monitor screen to collect data on the monitor's performance. MediCal can track the quality of the system's black, white, and gray-scale tones, and compare them with the facility's reference parameters. As phosphor degradation reduces the performance of the monitors over time, the displays can be adjusted to conform to the facility's original parameters throughout their useful life span, according to Piet Candeel, product manager for medical displays and peripherals at the Kortrijk-based company.

MediCal can also help facilities calibrate all the monitors in their institution to ensure that radiologists are reading from displays with equivalent settings. MediCal calibrations can be performed by technologists and take about 30 seconds, Candeel said.

MediCal will ship with Barco's monitor line, which the company expanded at last month's Radiological Society of North America meeting. The company has begun shipping its first 5-megapixel display package, MeDis 5MP, which includes all the components required for primary diagnostic applications. MeDis 2MP, another new product, is targeted at less demanding applications for which 2-megapixel displays are adequate.

Barco believes that a major feature of its monitors is their luminance uniformity correction, which ensures that monitors have the same brightness levels across their entire surfaces, even in the corners. Barco offers its products exclusively through OEMs.

As a work-in-progress in its RSNA booth, Barco displayed a 20-inch flat-panel monitor, a project it is working on with another company. Such a monitor could be used near MRI suites instead of CRT-based monitors, which are influenced by high magnetic fields. Candeel declined to predict when a Barco flat-panel offering might be available.

Candeel also reported that Barco is in talks with Dutch PACS developer Applicare Medical Imaging for a possible deal to supply monitors to accompany that firm's PACS workstations. As Applicare was named one of the suppliers on the U.S. military's massive DIN-PACS project (SCAN 12/17/97), such a deal could provide a lucrative revenue stream for Barco.

Finally, Barco reported in November that it has broken ground on a new 80,000-sq ft manufacturing plant north of Atlanta. The plant will house the company's North America operations, which have experienced a 50% growth rate over the past two years.

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