Amnis provides key MPEG-2 systems for Bell Canada tele-robotic surgery

Palo Alto 23 July 2003Amnis Systems Inc., a global provider of networked streaming video systems, has provided key MPEG-2 infrastructure for a live tele-robotic surgery pilot implemented by Bell Canada. History was definitely in the making as two Ontario doctors used tele-robotics to perform surgery on a North Bay General Hospital patient hundreds of miles away. The pilot was deemed a success by the surgical teams who performed this first time ever procedure.


The award winning Amnis NAC-3000 and NAC-4000 network video appliances were used in this application for encoding, transporting, and decoding live MPEG-2 video from a camera at the patient location to a television monitor at the surgeon site. Dr. Nehran Anvari, in Hamilton's St Joseph's Healthcare, used tele-robotics assisted surgery to perform the operation on a patient in the North Bay General Hospital.

Dr. Anvari assisted Dr. Craig McKinley, who was on site with the patient, in performing a laparoscopic Nissen fundoplication or anti-reflux surgery over Bell Canada's VPNe network. Dr. Anvari used controls that manipulated robotic arms and surgical instruments that were several hundred miles away all the while watching through a television monitor which was connected to the Amnis NAC-4000 MPEG-2 receiver. The surgeons demanded high quality video with latency as close to real time as possible.

"Amnis products have the video quality, mission-critical reliability and ease-of-use we require for this tele-robotic surgery project", stated Charles Salameh, Vice President, Enterprise Data and Managed Services of Bell Canada. "As the world's first routine use of such technology in a hospital setting, the surgery demonstrated immense potential for such applications in health care, particularly in expanding medical services to remote areas."

The Amnis NAC platform was selected and used because of its superior video quality and its ability to deliver the industry's lowest latency of MPEG-2 over IP. The network transport between the sites included DS-3 links and MPLS OC-48 via ATM on the backbone. Using real-world technologies in a framework that applied realistic network bandwidth utilisation was a critical requirement for this pilot.

"Amnis Systems' network infrastructure products enabled history making surgery by providing high-quality streaming video for world's first hospital-to-hospital tele-robotic assisted surgery", stated Scott Mac Caughern, President and CEO for Amnis Systems. "Bell Canada is representative of visionary organisations that require high quality video for mission critical applications and we continue to work with them as new and unique applications arise from these pilot programmes."

Amnis Systems Inc. is specialised in the networked streaming video market. The company develops, manufactures and delivers MPEG network video products for high-quality video creation, management and distribution worldwide both directly and through leading industry partners. Amnis products are used in diverse applications such as surveillance, distance learning, content distribution, corporate training, telemedicine, video-on-demand and high-quality video conferencing.

Bell Canada, Canada's national expert for communications in the Internet world, provides connectivity to residential and business customers through wired and wireless voice and data communications, high speed and wireless Internet access, IP-broadband services, e-business solutions, and local and long distance phone services. Bell Canada is owned by BCE Inc. Read also the VMW April 2003 article Bell Canada delivers surgical grade network to power telerobotics assisted surgery for more news on tele-surgery in Canada.

Leslie Versweyveld

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