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Finnish firm Imix develops CCD-based digital detectors


Company claims speed advantage in x-ray digitizingA medical imaging company based in Tampere, Finland, plans to begin European sales this year of a new x-ray digitization technology based on charge-coupled devices (CCDs). Imix claims that its

Company claims speed advantage in x-ray digitizing

A medical imaging company based in Tampere, Finland, plans to begin European sales this year of a new x-ray digitization technology based on charge-coupled devices (CCDs). Imix claims that its digital technology-also called Imix-can produce a completed digital image in only 10 seconds, from exposure to display.

Imix has developed two products based on its technology, a chest imaging system and a universal x-ray table. Both use a detector with a fluorescent layer that converts x-rays into light. An optic system accumulates the light and transmits it to the CCD sensors, which convert the light into digital data that are sent to the system's computer workstation for conversion into an image.

Imix began work on the technology in 1993 by adapting work done for industrial applications using CCDs, according to Eero Kettunen, managing director. Imix also manufactures x-ray generators and x-ray film digitizers, which integrate well with the CCD digital systems.

"We are making a product line that is a complete x-ray lab," Kettunen said.

The chest imaging system has a detector size of 40 x 40 cm, with a resolution of 2.5 lines per mm for a 12-bit image in a 2K x 2K matrix. The universal table has a detector size of 35 x 35 cm, and a resolution of 2.9 lines per mm for a 12-bit 2K x 2K image. The throughput of both systems is 120 images an hour, and both are DICOM-compatible and can exchange data with a PACS or RIS.

Imix displayed the digital systems at the European Congress of Radiology in March, after showing early prototypes at the ECR meeting in 1995, Kettunen said. The company did not exhibit at last year's Radiological Society of North America meeting because it is still working on applying for Food and Drug Administration clearance.

Sales of the Imix products began in Scandinavia last year, with sales throughout the rest of Europe to begin as soon as the company is able to set up a distributor network, Kettunen said. Imix is still developing a strategy for U.S. sales, though it is likely that a distributor network will be used there as well.

The company's CCD-based technology and European origins invite comparisons to Swissray International of Hitzkirch, Switzerland, which has also developed digital x-ray systems based on CCD technology. Imix executives, however, maintain that their system has advantages over Swissay's AddOn product line. Imix will also encounter competition from the many other companies that are developing digital detectors with either CCD or flat-panel technology (SCAN 3/19/97).

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