Ever alert to advance human health care, the medical industry has always been quick to incorporate the latest vision and imaging technologies. Physicians and surgeons are constantly seeking new devices that can enhance images, accelerate tests, reduce costs, and analyze results. Moreover, they continue to inform, push, and motivate vision and imaging designers and manufacturers to develop more-capable products and techniques.
For example, surgeons have been using slow and expensive magnetic-resonance imaging (MRI) or computed-tomography technologies in conjunction with electroencephalographs for preoperative planning in neurosurgery. An innovative imaging-system approach, says contributing editor R. Winn Hardin, combines 3-D graphics and video cameras. With this augmented-reality imaging system, MRI models are overlaid on real-time video, show the surgeon's hands and instruments in relation to hidden brain tissues, and allow step-by-step surgical planning, faster operations, reduced costs, and more-effective results (see p. 19).
Biometric identification systems are focusing on the human iris as a unique source of verification. Decades of clinical photographs have proven that the pattern of the human iris remains unchanged during a person's lifetime. Consequently, reports editor at large Andy Wilson, British professors have developed a patented set of characteristic parameters from iris texture using wavelet analysis to develop person-recognition systems (see p. 30).
Monitors and displays serve as indispensable tools for patient diagnosis. However, cost and complexity have proven difficult to overcome in developing an industry digital interface standard for improving clarity in flat-panel displays and CRT monitors. This standard must also allow a cost-effective migration from legacy CRT analog displays to digital types. To solve this problem, says Andy Wilson in his product focus, the Digital Display Working Group has developed the Digital Visual Interface standard. Based on the transition-minimized differential signaling format, this standard has already been accepted by multiple monitor and display-controller companies (see p. 36).
Integrated robotic systems are now being used to ease manufacture of components and subsystems for the automotive industry. A French company has minimized the need for retooling and customizing the assembly lines using these robots, according to contributing editor Larry Curran (see p. 25).
George Kotelly,Executive Editor