Kodak leverages DR systems into full-field digital mammo

December 20, 2000

Eastman Kodak is moving aggressively into digital imaging with two new systems developed with Hologic and plans to market a full-field digital mammography system in the near future.Both systems have amorphous selenium detectors developed by Hologic's

Eastman Kodak is moving aggressively into digital imaging with two new systems developed with Hologic and plans to market a full-field digital mammography system in the near future.

Both systems have amorphous selenium detectors developed by Hologic's Direct Radiography Corp. subsidiary. The products are the result of collaborations Kodak arranged a year ago with Analogic, Hologic, and Fischer Imaging.

"We believe the amorphous selenium we use in general radiology and chest is also an excellent technology to use in mammography, so our plans are to develop a full-field digital mammography system that incorporates the amorphous selenium direct technology," said Jane Hasselkus, Kodak's worldwide DR category manager.

Although the mammography system's structure would be similar to those of the company's chest and gen-rad scanners, the image-quality needs of mammography are much more stringent. Pixel size on the gen-rad detector is 139; on the mammo detector it will be 85, so image quality will be much higher, Hasselkus said.

Kodak's primary system is the DirectView DR 9000, which has a ceiling-mounted multiplaner U-arm for general radiology and is targeted at customers installing new x-ray rooms or converting to digital. The system comprises a direct x-ray capture system, operator console, high-frequency x-ray generator, x-ray tube, and the U-arm. It comes with a choice of three patient support tables and will list at around $450,000.

The DirectView DR 5000 is a digital bucky system on a floor-mounted tube stand for chest and other upright exams. It costs $375,000. Both systems use Hologic operator consoles.

X-ray and ancillary hardware for the two systems comes from Fischer Imaging. Analogic, which is reportedly developing its own flat-panel detector, is the primary contractor doing final assembly for Kodak but will not be marketing the systems under its own name, Hasselkus said.

Kodak formed a strategic alliance with R2 Technology in October, and in November announced the purchase of an equity stake in R2. Kodak plans to integrate R2's ImageChecker CAD software into its CR and DR systems.

The companies intend to work together to develop other CAD applications, including the ability to identify regions of interest in lung fields. R2 showed a new product at the RSNA show called the LungCheck, which identifies ROIs in chest CTs.

Kodak's acquisition package will be rounded out if its takeover of digitizer manufacturer Lumisys is approved by the SEC.