Hi-def clinical microscopy system results from Toshiba, Olympus partnership

May 16, 2008 -- Toshiba Imaging Systems Division, a leader in advanced 3CCD color video imaging, is partnering with Olympus Canada to offer a new tool for clinical pathology and teaching, the High Definition Synergy-HD Microscope Imaging System.

Gary Pitre of Toshiba Imaging explained the roots of the development to BioOptics World. "Toshiba owns the endoscope market," he said. "We sell the camera guts to the guys who manufacture endoscopes . . . thousands per year . . . but we're new to the microscope market, and the image results are amazing to these folks."

After evaluating numerous options, Olympus chose Toshiba's new ultra-compact IK-HD1 3CCD HDTV camera to integrate with its line of clinical microscopes that feature objectives and optics well suited for digital imaging. The system, which includes a hi-def, wide screen 42" or 47" 1080p LCD monitor, delivers video imagery in real time, displaying the entire slide at all regions of interest (ROI) and magnifications. Toshiba's camera and proprietary 3-chip prism block technology offers 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution at 30 frames per second, and promises superb color reproduction, contrast, and image detail without binning, image jitter, or video lag.

With the new HD format, the microscopy system offers exceptional detail, contrast and brightness even at low 2X / 4X magnifications where clinical screening and margins are performed. The image processing electronics in the HD camera system promises superior signal-to-noise ratio and unprecedented color image detail. A wide variety of adjustments, including the creation of custom color matrices and other user settings, is available via the compact, easy-to-use camera control unit.

The commercial LCD display has a high refresh rate of 8 ms with superior broadcast quality HD-SDI video format of 1.4 Gb/s data rate. With high brightness and 60,000 hours of back light life span, the HD 1080i LCD display offers high contrast images that are viewable from any angle.

Depending upon the need, an additional PC with an HD-SDI frame grabber can be added, allowing digital capture of the HD images at full 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution. The frame grabber allows simultaneous viewing of the microscopy slide image on the LCD monitor, making it ideal for tumor boards and clinical rounds as well as various medical and life science teaching environments.

Toshiba's Pitre left open the possibility of bringing his company's technology to other microscopy manufacturers in the future. "Our arrangement with Olympus is not exclusive," he said.

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