eMagin supplies OLED displays as 3D imaging source for VRmagic surgical training simulator

Mannheim 24 September 2003eMagin's organic light emitting diode (OLED) microdisplays are a key component of the second generation of VRmagic's EYESI surgical training equipment. EYESI is a Virtual Reality system for training of ophthalmic surgery which provides real-time simulation, high performance biomechanical tissue simulation, precision tracking, and realistic stereo imaging. The innovative system was presented at the 101st meeting of the German Ophthalmic Society or Deutsche Ophthalmologische Gesellschaft, September 25-28, 2003, in Berlin, Germany.


In many cases, patients threatened by blindness due to eye disease can be cured by an eye operation, but the success of the procedure depends on the ability of the eye surgeon to operate with precision using pin-thin instruments inside the eye. Teaching and training of microsurgical interventions is expensive and very time consuming. Without the use of simulation, beginning surgeons can gain surgical experience only on actual patients, thus increasing rates of complications. In addition, there is no way to train the handling of complications under real surgical conditions without additional risk for the patient.

Using VRmagic's EYESI, ophthalmo-surgical procedures can be performed in a virtual environment to allow the training of intra-ocular surgery at an exceptional degree of realism and without risk for the patient. The EYESI is designed to reflect all critical issues of the surgical situation. The surgeon inserts replicas of original surgical instruments into an eye model which is fixed under a facial mask.

The position of surgical instruments and orientation of the eye model is determined by a specially designed optical tracking system. The tracking system uses three CMOS cameras and a field programmable gate array (FPGA) based image-processing hardware which delivers position data in sub-millimeter accuracy to the host computer. The host system calculates collisions between instruments and pathological or anatomical structures and determines the tissue reaction with biomechanical models.

The operation scenario is rendered via computer graphics to a stereomicroscope mimic, or simulated image. The microscope holds two high resolution OLED microdisplays which are viewed through oculars to provide a left and right eye view, providing the surgeon with the 3D view he or she is accustomed to from the operating room microscope.

"With their high contrast images, true colours, and large field of view, the eMagin OLED microdisplays are the microdisplay solution of choice in our Virtual Reality applications", stated Norbert Hinckers, VRmagic's chief executive officer. "We are pleased that our OLED microdisplays can provide a natural, wide view for VRmagic's leading-edge simulators which will significantly improve the training quality for surgeons practising critical procedures", stated Gary Jones, eMagin's chief executive officer and president.

Virtual reality simulators are already in use by pilots for in-flight training, and are expected to be used for a variety of medical applications such as endoscopy and laparoscopy training. VRmagic's EYESI simulator has been showcased at the Berlin Congress Center, September 25 to 28, and will also be presented at Insight Instruments' booth at the 2003 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), November 15-18, 2003, in Anaheim, California.

Specialised in organic light emitting diode-on-silicon microdisplay technology, eMagin combines integrated circuits, microdisplays, and optics to create a virtual image similar to the real image of a computer monitor or large screen TV. eMagin invented the award-winning SVGA+ and SVGA-3D OLED microdisplays, the world's first single-chip colour video OLED microdisplay and embedded controller for advanced virtual imaging.

eMagin's microdisplay systems are expected to enable new mass markets for wearable personal computers, wireless Internet appliances, portable DVD-viewers, digital cameras, and other emerging applications for consumer, industrial, medical, and military applications. OLED microdisplays demonstrate performance characteristics important to military and other demanding commercial and industrial applications including low power consumption, high brightness and resolution, wide dimming range, wider temperature operating ranges, shock and vibration resistance, and insensitivity to high G-forces.

eMagin's corporate headquarters and microdisplay operations are co-located with IBM on its campus in East Fishkill, New York. Operations for design and development of display assembly, optics and display housings are located at its wholly owned subsidiary, Virtual Vision Inc., in Redmond.

VRmagic develops Virtual Reality simulators and VR technology components. Computer vision and camera solutions developed by VRmagic have gained great acceptance in the image processing industry. VRmagic's core market is medical simulators for training and education. VRmagic combines advanced technological and medical know-how to create medical training simulators with an exceptional degree of realism. VRmagic develops advanced technology to set new standards not only in ophthalmic surgical training but also in Virtual Reality technology.

Expertise in the fields of medicine, physics and information technology produced the eye surgery simulator EYESI, which was awarded the Stiftung Rhein-Neckar-Dreieck Research and Innovation Prize. EYESI demonstrates the efficiency and performance of VRmagic's Virtual Reality technology portfolio. EYESI revolutionizes ophthalmo-surgical training. Training that could only be done on patients can now be done on the EYESI system eliminating any training related risks to the patients.

In order to realize its precise and minimum latency optical tracking system, VRmagic established a core competence in computer vision and image processing. VRmagic's VRmC family of USB 2.0 CMOS camera components has gained great acceptance in the image processing industry. With the VRmC series VRmagic offers a modular system of camera components consisting of sensor and video-grabber units, hardware image processing units and a USB 2.0 high-speed interface unit. Current most desired camera products are the VRmC-3 board camera module and the VRmC-4pro camera with aluminum housing and c-mount.

Leslie Versweyveld

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