The bi-directional video transmissions will be from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Aquarius underwater lab in Key Largo, Florida, to Cincinnati, Ohio and as well directly to the Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center (TATRC) demonstration area at the American Telemedicine Association (ATA) exposition in Nashville, Tennessee. At the ATA conference, a surgeon is performing live telesurgery experiments interacting directly with the NASA and University of Cincinnati personnel on Aquarius. The NEEMO missions enable astronauts to train within an environment analogous to actual space missions. The University of North Carolina at Wilmington operates Aquarius on behalf of NOAA.
The telesurgery experiments will use the HaiVision hai1000 codec to transmit multiple video streams from Aquarius including those from a stereo video camera enabling precise control of the robot by surgeons over 1000 miles away. In addition, the hai1000 will support bi-directional audio video communications. The high performance network video will be transported over the internet.
The hai1000 uses the latest MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 video compression allowing multiple video channels to be transmitted and received synchronously. MPEG-4 provides a 60 percent savings in bandwidth historically required by MPEG-2 to achieve the same DVD quality video. The hai1000 as well provides extremely low end-to-end latency, about 160 milliseconds.
"Sustained extreme low latency is important for communications such as telepresence, but is essential while trying to maintain hand-eye co-ordination while using a surgical robot remotely", stated Dr. Timothy Broderick, a NEEMO 12 crew member and Associate Professor of Surgery and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Cincinnati. "HaiVision has developed products that are ideal for advanced medical applications and has dedicated excellent engineering support to advance our research in telesurgery." Dr. Broderick also serves as the Director of the University of Cincinnati's Advanced Center for Telemedicine and Surgical Innovation (ACTSI).
Based in Montréal, Canada, HaiVision Systems Inc. is a private company dedicated to improving the way people live and work through the use of advanced network video technology. HaiVision's interactive products are used in the foremost telepresence suites, boardrooms, and continuous presence distance education systems worldwide. They are used as well in the medical field supporting information and service delivery within hospital campuses and across nations. HaiVision's streaming products are also used extensively for video backhaul and distribution in broadcast, near broadcast, and IPTV applications.
More company news can be found in the VMW May 2005 article HaiVision supports TATRC in leading-edge telemedicine demonstrations at ATA 2005 conference. More information on the NEEMO 12 mission is available in the VMW May 2007 article Robotic surgeon to team up with doctors and astronauts on NASA mission.