Medical imaging and radiology professionals are continuously in search of advanced solutions to enhance the quality of the various image processing functions in their equipment. In this regard, Java has become the new creed. Over the past year, Sun Microsystems has worked very hard to optimize its Java technology in order to provide the PACS (Picture Archival Computer System) review stations with new medical visualization features. The newly developed Java tools support grey scale visuals, as well as fast look-up and retrieval of both 8- and 12-bit images. In addition, the company has made available an early access version of the Java Advanced Imaging (JAI) Application Programming Interface (API) object library.
Java 2D constitutes a core API of the freshly designed JDK 1.2 Java Development Kit, which soon will be shipped by Sun. Java 2D offers strong support for static grey visuals in such a way that 256 shades of grey can be displayed within one application's image. Radiologists need this kind of capacity in order to adequately read and diagnose the vital information in patient images. The JDK 1.2 software equally incorporates very fast look-up operations for both 8- and 12-bit grey scale images through the use of DGA or Direct Graphic Access, provided by Sun's Solaris operating environment and Direct Draw on Win32. As a result, the user is able to execute various image processing operations directly in the framebuffer at window level.
In turn, the Java Advanced Imaging (JAI) API consists of a network-centric imaging framework which provides the entire health care enterprise with a secure, platform independent and scaleable solution. The radiologist can use the JAI API for functional image processing operations, such as tiling and deferred execution. The special interface even includes multiprocessor scalability and a wide range of high-level operators to enhance the medical visualization, such as polynomial warps and image subtractions. Since the JAI API constitutes a standard Java extension, it is compatible with the Java 2D API. Both Java tools largely extend the possibilities of medical imaging by creating an open imaging library with sophisticated features.