Polaroid moves Helios to market

June 2, 1993

Polaroid Medical Imaging Systems began shipping its long-awaitedHelios dry-processing laser imager this spring. Polaroid is hopingthe product will provide the company with a springboard to rapidexpansion in other imaging markets. Polaroid initially

Polaroid Medical Imaging Systems began shipping its long-awaitedHelios dry-processing laser imager this spring. Polaroid is hopingthe product will provide the company with a springboard to rapidexpansion in other imaging markets.

Polaroid initially unveiled Helios as a work-in-progress atthe Radiological Society of North America meeting in 1989 (SCAN1/17/90). The company received Food and Drug Administration 510(k)approval for Helios early on, but chose to delay commercial introductionuntil March of this year as it conducted an extensive beta siteprogram. Polaroid used the intervening period to educate potentialcustomers about the product, according to Richard Borrelli, directorof marketing.

"This is such a new and different technology that it takesa long time for customers to realize that we're changing the gamein laser imaging technology," Borrelli said. "(The technology)needed the time to be explained to the marketplace."

Helios uses non-silver-halide film to produce 8 x 10-inch transparenciesin about 90 seconds. The product is targeted initially at modalitiesthat use 8 x 10-inch films, specifically ultrasound and nuclearmedicine, and is also suitable for C-arms and workstation-generatedoutput. Polaroid will develop a version of Helios for modalitiesthat use larger format film, Borrelli said.

Because Helios requires no chemicals and operates in daylight,Polaroid is touting it as a product that can cut costs for radiologydepartments.

"If you are building a new facility, you don't have toinvest in a darkroom, you don't need a processor, you don't needchemicals," Borrelli said. "With regard to environmentalissues, many hospitals and imaging centers are looking at thecost of removing (film) effluents and disposing of them througha vendor. (With Helios) you eliminate those costs as well."

Helios is being distributed by Picker Health Care Products,the imaging accessories division of multimodality vendor PickerInternational (SCAN 9/16/92). Picker will work with Polaroid todistribute Helios to customers with existing ultrasound and nuclearmedicine equipment who wish to upgrade their film processing technology.

Polaroid is also working on OEM agreements with major equipmentvendors in the 8 x 10-inch film format category, Borrelli said.

The list price of Helios is $55,000 for a printer that processesvideo images and $60,000 for a printer configuration with digitalimage interfacing.

Parent Polaroid has high hopes for Helios, seeing it as a technologyplatform that can be used for high-resolution imaging productstargeted at industries outside medicine, such as science and graphicarts. Competing successfully in those markets is the key to achievinga corporate-wide goal of doubling revenues by the end of the decade,according to the company.