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Imagination is one attribute you use to address challenges and create innovative breakthroughs.
Shimadzu's people believe in the same thing. The following highlights Shimadzu people working to develop new technologies and improve the quality of their work performance in order to provide better solutions to customers and society.

Making the Invisible…Visible

A Revolutionary Step in Higher Quality Images for X-Ray Diagnostic Imaging Systems

A Revolutionary Step in Higher Quality Images for X-Ray Diagnostic Imaging Systems

The image processing engine has a significant effect on the image quality of still and video images produced by X-ray systems.
The development that resulted in catching up and leaping to the top originated from a game-changing idea.

A Challenging Video Image

"You can make this visible?"
Hisanori Morita, the Image Group Manager in the Data Processing Unit at the Technology Research Laboratory of Shimadzu Corporation, was at a loss of words.
The video image was about five seconds long and had been brought in by Kazuhiro Mori, the FPD/Application Group Manager, and Mitsuru Umeda, the CVS Group Manager in the R&D Department of the Medical Systems Division. It showed a heart with a blood vessel circled around it and also a stent that was expanding the blood vessel. It was the raw image, before image processing was applied, and it included noise throughout the image that made the blood vessel appear fuzzy. Consequently, the location of the blood vessel and of the wire that was inserted through it, was unclear.
"I'll try, but...," was the best answer Morita could offer.

Rapid Advancements in Image Processing Technology

Angiography systems use X-rays to acquire images of cardiac blood vessels. They serve as the "eyes" that are essential for coronary artery catheterization procedures involving blood vessels narrowed by arterial sclerosis.
Catheterization procedures, which appeared in the 1980s, were quickly adopted into widespread use because they caused less stress on patients than the bypass operation normally used at the time. In recent years, however, improvements in the performance of angiography systems, stents, the guide wires used to deliver the stents, and so on, have resulted in broadening the scope of catheterization procedures. Stents only 2 mm in diameter are now available, so that the procedure can even be used for blood vessels that are quite small, which has helped save many lives.
Angiography systems continuously display an X-ray image of the patient's chest area on the monitor throughout the catheterization procedure. Of course, to minimize radiation exposure, X-ray levels should be as low as possible. However, if the X-ray level is too low, it is like trying to find a crow in the dark by candlelight, which results in seeing only blurry images of blood vessels, stents, and the heart.
To overcome this, image processing technology is used to improve visibility. The basic concept is similar to the processing of digital camera images on a computer. However, angiography systems display video images and users do not have any time to stop the video during the procedure so that images can be processed one frame at a time. Users require that the data is processed automatically at about 15 frames per second, essentially in real time.

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