Next moves to medical with Unix workstation

January 29, 1992

Next Computers has set its sights on medical imaging. The RedwoodCity, CA, computer vendor made an industry debut last month atthe Radiological Society of North America technical exhibit, whereit displayed systems at the Resonex, Metecon and Lumisys

Next Computers has set its sights on medical imaging. The RedwoodCity, CA, computer vendor made an industry debut last month atthe Radiological Society of North America technical exhibit, whereit displayed systems at the Resonex, Metecon and Lumisys booths.

Next, created by Apple co-founder Steven Jobs, has been activefor two years in such fields as higher education, publishing andfinancial services. The company is exploring new niches suitablefor its computer, according to Ken Rosen, emerging markets manager.

"Medical is one of the most important new markets we willbe active in," Rosen told SCAN.

The Next system is a Unix-based workstation with solid multimediacapabilities. Images, text and voice are easily combined on themouse-driven system. Voice files can be edited on screen to reduceextraneous noise. The Next monitor comes standard with 1120 x832-pixel resolution.

"Next is a workstation-class machine," Rosen said."But it is different from anything that has been done inthe workstation world before. We married the (computing) powerand standards of the workstation with the ease of use (of) thepersonal computer. It is a workstation that professionals in fieldsother than computers can use."

The Next station serves as the platform for the M-2000 diagnosticand teleradiology workstation developed by Metecon of Menlo Park,CA, a year-old medical imaging distributor and product developer.

Metecon distributes Resonex MR systems and other imaging equipmentin seven countries of Central and Eastern Europe. The firm operatesin Europe from a sales and service office in Warsaw, said PeterZ. Wasowski, president and CEO.

Wasowski is a veteran medical imaging executive with salesand marketing experience at GE and Siemens.

While Metecon's business is largely in Europe, the firm's R&Deffort is centered in California. The company is also buildinga sales and marketing group in the U.S. to handle the new workstation.Metecon hopes to combine direct sales with OEM accounts, he said.

The idea to create a medical image workstation using a Nextplatform came from customers in its Resonex distribution business,Wasowski said.

"They wanted a reliable workstation that has a good userinterface and is priced reasonably," he said. The Meteconworkstation with printer and optical disk will sell for $51,000.

Metecon first showed the product at the European Congress ofRadiology in Vienna last September. Encouraging response convincedthe firm to finalize the product and bring it to market, Wasowskisaid.

The Next computer programs easily and is a good platform onwhich to build applications software, he said. Stephen J. Weiss,president and CEO of Lumisys, seconded that opinion.

"It is a very nice system to do software development onand also a good platform to work with both text and images,"Weiss said.

Lumisys was asked to integrate its film digitizer with theNext workstation by Oceana, a radiology information systems developer.Although the Next-based medical workstation was shown at the Lumisysbooth, the optical technology developer has not decided whetherto sell the workstation under its own label, Weiss said.

Lumisys has seen strong demand for its film digitizer, whichwas upgraded as part of the Siemens MDIS military PACS bid (seestory, page 6). PACS vendors IBM, GE, Philips, Image Data, Kodak/Vortechand Siemens all use the digitizer, he said.

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