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Belgian start-up plans multifaceted digitizer


New product will include teleradiology, archiving supportHealthcare institutions are always seeking for more capabilities from their investments in digital image-management technology. One company hoping to take advantage of this market interest

New product will include teleradiology, archiving support

Healthcare institutions are always seeking for more capabilities from their investments in digital image-management technology. One company hoping to take advantage of this market interest is Meridis, a Belgium-based start-up.

Meridis has developed DIX-1, a product that features a film digitizer, file server, graphics workstation, office workstation, archiving capability, videoconferencing, a frame grabber, and telemedicine and teleradiology software.

When available, the Windows NT-based DIX-1 will cost approximately $30,000. A three-year lease would cost customers $999 per month. Chip manufacturer Intel’s financing unit will handle the leasing arrangements worldwide, according to Meridis founder Daniel Mosnenck.

Mosnenck, a veteran of laser printing and scanning technologies in the commercial marketplace, has developed a laser digitizer that offers an optical density range up to 4.5, and resolution of 800 dots per inch or 31 microns per pixel. Scanning time is 12 seconds for a standard 43 x 35 cm film. The unit includes a Twain driver for Windows 95/98/NT/2000. It can scan on both sides of the film, which allows for efficient barcode or label reading, Mosnenck said. It also requires no maintenance, and is self-calibrating.

Mosnenck sought to take advantage of technological advances in computing technologies in developing DIX-1. The other components of DIX-1 are provided by various manufacturers, including Intel and Fujitsu.

For archiving, DIX-1 will include an automatic software feature that allows copying of image data onto CD-ROM or CD-RW media, or any other archiving approach.

“If a customer wants to use any other media, we can also support that,” Mosnenck said.

Meridis also plans to add a DVD jukebox as an option early next year, which will provide up to 50 terabytes of storage. Gigabit Ethernet networking and fibre-channel-based RAID will also be available.

The graphics workstation features a 20-inch viewable area and a minimum of 1600 x 1200 resolution, according to Mosnenck. DIX-1 is fully compliant with DICOM 3.0, he said. In addition, DIX-1’s file server is capable of supporting a full PACS environment.

Early next year, Meridis plans to add a 350-sheet feeder to DIX-1. Although final pricing hasn’t been determined, the feeder will likely add approximately $3000 to the cost of the unit, Mosnenck said.

While Meridis is interested in securing OEM relationships for DIX-1, the firm is searching for distributors. Meridis is targeting the U.S., Europe, and Australia for its initial DIX-1 sales efforts. By the end of next year, Meridis will expand its sales coverage to the rest of the world.

The firm has submitted its 510(k) application to the Food and Drug Administration and has filed for the CE Mark in Europe. Meridis expects to make the first sales of DIX-1 by the end of February. The initial demonstration of the product will take place at the European Congress of Radiology in March.

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