Monster display could move monitors to head of the class

July 30, 2004

Radiology education issues generally focus on the most efficient means of assembling, maintaining, and accessing digital teaching files. Monitors are taken for granted. That could change with a large high-resolution display researchers are showcasing

Radiology education issues generally focus on the most efficient means of assembling, maintaining, and accessing digital teaching files. Monitors are taken for granted.

That could change with a large high-resolution display researchers are showcasing at Purdue University. It promises applications in everything from television news production and higher education to home theaters and homeland security.

The prototype measures about 11 feet, eight inches wide by six feet, eight inches high - larger than a garage door. Researchers originally intended the display to support Purdue's Homeland Security Institute, which generates supercomputer-based simulations of terrorist attacks to help emergency officials coordinate response efforts.

It wasn't long before the scientists realized that the bright, high-resolution technology would lend itself nicely to scientific and medical applications, particularly radiology. Image sizes of 4000 x 3000 pixels or higher are possible.

"We feel radiology would be a perfect application," said Edward J. Delp, Ph.D., a professor in Purdue's School of Electrical and Computer Engineering. "This monitor could be used in any type of viewing application, but it is especially apt for viewing digital diagnostic imaging studies such as x-rays, MRI, mammography, or microscope images."

Delp, who was involved in developing software for the new technology, said the device uses four separate projectors to display a single image onto the large screen. Innovative software blends the separate projections together so that no seams appear between adjacent segments, joining the four images into a single picture with higher resolution than a regular TV set.

Other large-screen displays use separate tilelike segments to create one image, but the boundaries between each tile can clearly be seen.

The "walk-in" display has projectors mounted in the rear, enabling viewers to walk right to the screen for up close and personal image interpretation. The rear projection design is ideal for displaying high-resolution imagery so that any number of people assembled in front of the large screen can discuss what they're seeing while panning and zooming in on the image, Delp said.

The device was developed by Thomson, a technology provider for media and entertainment companies, with assistance from Purdue engineers.