After several years of heated R&D advances, technology development in ultrasound is finally beginning to cool. Exhibitors toyed with the next great leap forward—real-time 3-D imaging—but none could manage it. Major and minor players showed
After several years of heated R&D advances, technology development in ultrasound is finally beginning to cool. Exhibitors toyed with the next great leap forwardreal-time 3-D imagingbut none could manage it. Major and minor players showed at least some versions of 3-D, however, recognizing its future potential as a flagship technology.
Arguably the best of the 3-D demonstrations was shown by Siemens Medical Systems, which evolved the panoramic imaging algorithms in its SieScape product to do 3-D reconstruction. Suppliers filled gaps for other vendors, such as Acuson, which unveiled a 3-D capability based on TomTec equipment. Even Perception Ultrasound, which assembles its low-cost scanners from off-the-shelf components, had a 3-D capability, thanks to 3-D EchoTech.
Manufacturers also showed what they do best: improvements on conventional 2-D technology. But rather than demonstrating engineering wizardry, advances were evolutionary tributes to improved resolution and productivity. Harmonic imaging was at the top of the list of several vendors, including Acuson, ATL, Siemens, and Toshiba. A close second was new transducer technology, as shown especially by Acuson and Hitachi.
The alliances responsible for some of the new products displayed on the RSNA exhibit floor demonstrated the growing interdependence of the imaging industry. Nothing underscored that trend more than Philips acquisition of ATL Ultrasound, a deal that closed in September. But seeing the honeymooners, whose executives projected confidence that the right, even inevitable decision had been made, raised questions about who would be nextand who would be left.