Microstereopsis introduces digital 3D viewing and recording system for surgical microscopes

Ijamsville 30 January 2003Microstereopsis has launched Retro-Opsis DV for 2003, a PC-based digital 3D viewing and recording system for use on Leica or Zeiss surgical microscopes. The system permits normal optical vision plus high resolution on-monitor vision at the same time. The cameras are connected to a PC equipped with RAID memory of up to 8 hours of recorded "footage" and viewed with inexpensive active LCD eyewear, wireless or "tethered". The software included with Retro-Opsis DV is called TRI-D.


Viewing is real time, using active liquid crystal shuttered eyewear. Recording is on RAID with up to one terabyte storage for many hours of uncompressed recording. The system runs in Windows XP with the compression routine included in the latest Media Player 9 utility. The system is also capable of grabbing high resolution 3D stills and a DVD+RW burner for DVD or CD media recording has been included.

Two progressive scan digital cameras have been carefully integrated with the optical microscope in such a way that the two images are optically erect and aligned to the same field of view that the user would see optically with normal oculars. The interlace mode is called sync doubling. A normal Wintel PC with a reasonable quality display shows a normal image that has the left image on top half of the display and the right image on the bottom.

Between the monitor and the computer, some proprietary hardware inserts an extra vertical-sync, or "new frame" signal, after the computer has displayed the top half. This same hardware synchronises the LCD glasses with these image halves such that the right eye only sees the bottom half and the left eye only the top half. The system displays a normal image that looks like an above/below stereo picture but after processing, the monitor shows an image that looks like it is page-flipped without loading the computer at all.

In addition, this extra sync signal has the effect of doubling the refresh rate so that when it is halved for each eye, the system is back where it started, at a normal frame rate for each eye. With the frame rate doubled, the bandwidth to the monitor remains unchanged so normal CRT monitors can be used to deliver flicker-free images using this technique.

"By using 3D eyewear, we can now have students or assistants in a surgical suite monitoring a procedure as the surgeon looks through the eyepiece and performs the procedure in the normal way. All the assistants and students can watch in 3D and have full depth perception", stated Jim Averill, President of Microstereopsis.

RETRO-VIEW workstations under $10,000.00 will be announced in the second quarter of 2003. These systems will be used for interactive viewing of DVD-ROM or CD created in 3D with Retro-Opsis DV. Introductory pricing for early adopters will be offered through March 30, 2003 and ranges from $23,995.00 to $26,995.00. System prices will be in the $26,000.00-$30,000.00 range after April 1, 2003. More information is available from Microstereopsis President Jim Averill.

Leslie Versweyveld

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