Watsyn empowers developers to build advanced applications

July 24, 2002

Modular design promises to cut development timeHoping to conjure a high-tech version of Sherlock Holmes' trusted assistant, Research Systems has released Watsyn, derived from "Watson" and "synergy," software that company executives

Modular design promises to cut development time

Hoping to conjure a high-tech version of Sherlock Holmes' trusted assistant, Research Systems has released Watsyn, derived from "Watson" and "synergy," software that company executives believe will set a new standard for medical imaging. The integrated programming platform is designed to enable the development and deployment of medical applications. It allows developers to reduce the time to market for medical applications, maximize the value of their existing clinical workstations, and integrate applications into a common platform.

"Watsyn is an open technology, a framework on which to build applications in a rapid manner," said Laurence White, Watsyn business manager. "In the same way that Java has grown the Internet business--allowing people to develop applications and share them via plug-ins--Watsyn has the potential to grow the medical business."

Watsyn comes with a series of prebuilt modules that enable clinical users to graphically assemble and configure applications to suit specific needs. The modules support a variety of modalities and address the needs of most medical specialties.

"What we're really shooting for here is a modality agnostic product, something that can build applications that go across the patient care continuum," White said.

The goal is to provide the basis for a virtually unlimited mix of modality-, organ-, and disease-specific applications that can be used in research, screening, diagnosis, staging, and treatment, White said.

"It's a prebuilt implementation platform on which you can hang modules, either ones we provide or ones you build on your own," he said. "The platform itself is very scalable in that you can deploy applications in a single desktop environment, a server environment, or over the Web."

Simplicity is a key element, according to White. Watsyn is fashioned after the drag 'n' drop development paradigm pioneered by Visual Basic, which allows users who are neither front-end nor database experts to build desired applications.

The company is marketing the product to medical researchers, physicists, and software engineers who need to develop applications quickly. RSI is also working with OEMs to integrate Watsyn software applications into workstations. Such relationships would give vendors the ability to run any Watsyn software-developed application on a third-party medical workstation.

"That will expand the portfolio of applications that vendors can run," White said.

Before developing Watsyn, the company was best known for IDL, a programming language designed to facilitate data analysis, visualization, and the development of cross-platform applications.

"We built Watsyn for someone who does programming but is not formally schooled in writing programs," White said.

RSI hopes to win widespread adoption by pricing Watsyn to suit the budgets of prospective customers. Pricing will depend on the size of the company and its intended use of Watsyn. Licenses may be written and royalties charged on the sale of applications built using Watsyn. Consulting services might also be charged.