TeraRecon takes portable ultrasound to a higher level

November 21, 2005

In less than two weeks, TeraRecon will unveil two new products for the burgeoning and increasingly sophisticated portable ultrasound market. Both are multifunctional, digital, and ultraportable color Doppler systems.

In less than two weeks, TeraRecon will unveil two new products for the burgeoning and increasingly sophisticated portable ultrasound market. Both are multifunctional, digital, and ultraportable color Doppler systems.

The San Mateo, CA-based firm is keeping with the dominant trend in portable product development, where vendors strive to add more capabilities while keeping costs attractive to potential new customers. Its two new systems attempt to bring the functionality of portable ultrasound systems a step closer to that of cart-based machines.

"We're trying to push the portable ultrasound envelope and set new standards, providing more advanced capabilities while still making it affordable," said Ajay Zachariah, TeraRecon's ultrasound product manager. "Ultrasound is moving into the private, general-practitioner market, and it's increasingly attracting all kinds of physicians. While they don't want to buy an expensive machine, they still want the portable equipment to do a good job."

The UF-785XTD, developed for cardiovascular applications, offers three probe connections (unique among portable scanners) plus dual-beam processing. The UF-780XTD, for general applications, comes with two simultaneous probe connections plus single-beam processing.

Both systems feature a modern, high-tech portable ultrasound scanner design and are equipped with 15-inch, LCD monitors with XGA image quality. Imaging modes for both include 2D, tissue harmonics, M-mode, color Doppler, spectral Doppler (CW/PW), and power Doppler.

The new systems possess ECG capability, hard drive and DVD-R capability, and a built-in capability for efficient video clip recordings. Transducers and software upgrades are compatible across TeraRecon's XTD product line.

The company plans to unveil the new systems at this year's RSNA meeting. Neither has yet cleared the FDA, but Zachariah expects market clearance within several months.

The UF-780XTD and UF-785XTD systems represent the latest collaboration between TeraRecon and Tokyo-based Fukuda Denshi, a global pioneer of specialized medical equipment, including patient monitors and ultrasound devices. In the past, the two companies have partnered for sales, marketing, and R&D. TeraRecon currently serves as the U.S. distributor for Fukuda Denshi's line of ultrasound systems.

In 2003, the collaboration resulted in the codevelopment of the Tellus UF-750XT portable color Doppler ultrasound system, an early predecessor of TeraRecon's coming releases. TeraRecon contributed its XTrillion processor technology, the backend image processing boards built into the machines, to the Tellus.

This work was followed by the codevelopment of the UF-850XTD, a fully digital, cart-based, multifunctional ultrasound system with a more powerful image processing board. Again, TeraRecon provided the board. The UF-850XTD was designed and manufactured by Fukuda Denshi.

The 750XT was a low-end portable scanner featuring some, but not all, digital components, according to Zachariah. The next collaborative offering, the UF-850XTD, was a more advanced fully digital product designed for both cardiac and general imaging applications. It features continuous wave Doppler with high frame rate color flow imaging and uses high-frequency, convex, linear, and phased-array transducers. The architecture can support 3D imaging.

The upcoming UF-780XTD and UF-785XTD are based on the UF-850XTD platform. Unlike the earlier products, however, both were developed completely by TeraRecon, according to Zachariah.

"Essentially, we transferred all of the capabilities of the 850XTD into these new portable products," he said.

Fukuda Denshi will manufacture and sell the systems everywhere except the North American market. TeraRecon will be the exclusive vendors in North America.