SGI's advanced medical imaging technologies showcased at Medicine Meets Virtual Reality Conference

Newport Beach 23 January 2002SGI showcased technologies which are revolutionising the high-end medical visualisation market at the 10th Annual Medicine Meets Virtual Reality (MMVR) Conference, January 23-26, 2002. SGI's presence and interactive display at the conference further demonstrated its position as a leader in visualisation and virtual reality technologies for medical applications.


Since 1992, MMVR has hosted an annual interdisciplinary conference to promote medical research and clinical adoption of virtual reality. This year the conference highlighted the newest tools in the industry, including information-guided surgery, data visualisation, robotics, and telemedicine.

SGI's booth demonstrated high-fidelity stereoscopic imagery with partner BARCO's new Galaxy Stereo DLP projector. On January 26, Almos Elekes, SGI director, medical industries, hosted a general session on stereoscopy (3D) projection with BARCO. Presentations from a variety of companies showed how cutting-edge 3D graphics and stereoscopic projection are being utilised for a wide range of medical visualisation and clinical applications around the world.

"SGI's advancements in medical imaging are influencing several areas of medical technology", stated Mr. Elekes. "Our ongoing efforts to improve not only MRIs and CTs for radiology and surgery but also the surgery-rehearsal products of such partners as Volume Interactions set the stage for the clinical adoption of virtual reality in clinical practice."

Since cofounding MMVR in 1992, SGI has remained at the forefront in developing visualisation technologies that enable rendering of and interaction with large data sets in real time. Through the years SGI technologies have evolved from being primarily research tools to addressing a wide range of clinical products and applications needs.

In addition, SGI has launched a vision and four products for a new concept in advanced visualisation called "Visual Area Networking". The vision is to enable universal access to advanced visualisation using any computing device, over standard networks. The new products include graphics infrastructure software, graphics hardware and desktop systems that make this vision a reality.

The new software, OpenGL Vizserver 2.0, will allow users to interact with visualisation supercomputers individually or as a collaborative community of users, from anywhere in the world. It allows globally dispersed teams to visualise and interact with data in ways never previously possible.

The concept of Visual Area Networking means that the data is stored and processed in one place but can be interacted with by users across existing networks, using any client device, from tablets and laptops to large SGI Reality Centre facilities. It removes the requirement to have either the data or the advanced visualisation capability local to the user or to have enhanced, ultrahigh bandwidth networking resources connecting the remote and the centralised locations.

The concept of a Visual Area Network represents a shift from focusing only on advancing pure rendering power to include consideration of the location and availability of visualised data sets across the network. This is called visual serving, a concept which was pioneered by SGI. Visual Area Networking makes rendered data available to the user by sending only the pixels of the visualised graphic rather than the raw data, to be visualised locally. As such, it increases security by not allowing duplicates of the data to be distributed throughout the network.

A Visual Area Network would allow a surgeon to safely use a desktop in a sterile operating room to see and manipulate a medical scan using 3D rendering on an Onyx 3000 series system located in the basement of the hospital. Or as Bob Bishop, chairman and chief executive officer of SGI, put it: "The power of SGI visualisation supercomputers is literally put into the hands of people like surgeons performing virtual surgeries on the battlefield."

Leslie Versweyveld

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