Whip CR…whip it good

June 9, 2010

At two minutes, thirty-nine seconds, Whip It was succinct and fittingly staccato, characteristics that in 1980 propelled the band DEVO to the top of the charts. Now DEVO is cracking a capitalist whip, rewriting the song’s lyrics to tout the unveiling of D-EVO (digital evolved), Fujifilm Medical Systems USA’s new portable flat-panel detector. It is the end of an era.

At two minutes, thirty-nine seconds, Whip It was succinct and fittingly staccato, characteristics that in 1980 propelled the band DEVO to the top of the charts. Now DEVO is cracking a capitalist whip, rewriting the song’s lyrics to tout the unveiling of D-EVO (digital evolved), Fujifilm Medical Systems USA’s new portable flat-panel detector. It is the end of an era.

The company best known for computed radiography has plunged headlong into developing and promoting a product that is the nemesis of CR. When cleared by the FDA, the new Fujifilm portable detector, weighing six pounds and measuring 14 x 17 inches, will retrofit existing film-based radiography rooms better than CR can do. And this detector is only the latest such development by the company. Preceding it were electronic x-ray sensors for digital mammography and radiography.


Some hear in this a death knell for CR. Others see the triumph of pragmatism. I see and hear both. But, for me, despite a decade-long advocacy of flat-panel technology, it is melancholic.

Lost in this transition is the perennial opportunity for me to wonder aloud and in print when the greatest CR advocate of all time would embrace DR. More than a decade has passed since I proclaimed CR on the ropes, a claim that Fuji execs kept assuring me was premature until just a few years ago.

With D-EVO, I can no longer speculate when CR will fade from the limelight; I have been vindicated. And Fujifilm is…celebrating! They are having fun with it, like Geico with its gecko and Aflac with its duck.

DEVO the band is recording lyrics about D-EVO the detector, sung to Whip It, a hit three years before Fuji commercialized the first medical CR system. Things will never be the same for me.

No more ribbing Fuji execs at their trade show booths over how long CR can last and listening to their refrain punctuated with bar charts and line graphs showing the enduring strength of CR. Those days are over. Done. Finished.

“CR was really the cost-effective logical solution for many years and in many situations, but we have seen great demand from our customers and from the market in general to really take advantage of the benefits that DR has to offer: quicker workflow, quicker image availability, improved image quality,” said Penny Maier, marketing director of imaging systems at Fujifilm Medical USA.

“Give the past a slip,” DEVO sings. “Crack that whip.”