Internet2 capabilities shown in live hernia repair and synchronous 3D patient data consultation

Columbus 12 January 2000Ohio has become a national technology development leader in testing and evaluating emerging Internet technologies in the United States. Recently, OARnet, a division of Ohio Supercomputer Center (OSC), together with a consortium of Ohio universities and corporate partners, was assigned the management of ITEC-Ohio, an Internet2 Technology Evaluation Center. These partners have decided to organise a demonstration in order to explore the capabilities of ITEC-Ohio by performing a live surgical procedure at the Ohio State University (OSU) Medical Center, and a collaborative consultation with cancer patient data using high-performance network tools.

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To this purpose, cameras were mounted in the operating theatre to register the whole procedure. Dr. Steven Steinberg of the OSU Division of General Surgery repaired and sewed up a patient's herniated bladder, while Dr. Scott Melvin, Director of the OSU Center for Minimally Invasive Surgery, moderated questions from an audience at the Rhodes State Office Tower two miles away. Several Ohio legislators, Board of Regents members, staff from the governor's office, Internet2 officials, and the press received the chance to observe and interact. "Our goal is to teach other physicians while we continue to provide the highest level of patient care", said Dr. Melvin.

In addition to the live surgery, researchers from OSU and OSC demonstrated advanced applications which allow for synchronous collaboration between remote locations. These applications enable physicians to view and discuss three-dimensional reconstructions of information from cancer patients. Don Stredney, senior research scientist at OSC, showed the unique capability to interactively manipulate 3D medical data instead of just passively witnessing stored images. "Internet2 offers a high-availability network to support the demands of advanced research applications being developed by OSU and OSC. We are continuing to design innovative tools for complex applications to assist a wide range of users", Don Stredney stated.

The ITEC-Ohio consortium is helping develop technologies which will greatly improve many aspects of our daily lives by providing the means for distance learning, telemedicine, distributed computing, virtual laboratories, massive digital libraries, and much more. The increase in remote collaboration among doctors alone will foster the rapid adoption of pioneering medical procedures throughout the country and world. ITEC-Ohio will form the communications technology testing centre for tomorrow's Internet. Partners include the Air Force Institute of Technology, the Case Western Reserve University, OARnet, Kent State University, Ohio Learning Network, OhioLINK, Ohio University, The Ohio State University, Ohio Supercomputer Center, University of Akron, University of Cincinnati, University of Dayton, and Wright State University, as well as corporate partners Qwest and Battelle.

ITEC was selected as part of a national effort to develop advanced networking technologies which will be used by Internet2, known as the next generation Internet. Project Abilene, which is the production network of Internet2, is the highest performance area network in the world. The technologies that ITEC-Ohio helps to develop, will rapidly become available to the university faculty and students, the health care industry, business community, media outlets, entertainment industry, public libraries, and even private homes of citizens.

Internet2 is a project of UCAID, the University Corporation for Advanced Internet Development, which provides leadership and direction for advanced networking development, technology transfer, and collaborative activities in the United States. With corporate and government backing, networks around the world are soon to interconnect with Internet2 to share research and turn knowledge into commercial products. Dozens of major corporations, such as Qwest, Cisco, Nortel, IBM and others, are providing more than $500 million in equipment, infrastructure, and other resources for the Internet2 network. As novel technologies are developed on Internet2, the corporate community will move them into the public sector where they will improve education, business, health, industry, and entertainment.

More technical details about Internet2 are available in the VMW July 1999 issue, more specifically in the article Internet2 plays role as test bed for new applications to speed up the current Internet. You can also read our story Live surgery performance between Washington and Ohio promotes new and super-fast Internet link in the VMW April 1999 issue.


Leslie Versweyveld

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