Barco Still Looking for ‘Better Outcomes’

Barco was showing one new monitor, a 5 (5.8) megapixel monitor that it calls the Nio Color 5MP. This sits in the range below the 12 megapixel Uniti monitor that it showed first a couple of years ago (More on the Uniti from Barco) and which is the ‘flagship’ diagnostic monitor for mammography and breast tomosynthesis. The Nio has some of the features of the Uniti, for example the option to double the light output from the front panel, but does not include others such as the separate touch panel support or the optical bonding seen on the bigger monitor.

The monitor adopts a setting for colour (SteadyColor) that uses the colour model that Barco has developed that is said to provide ‘perceptually linear colour’. Separately, as we have reported, Barco is working to get this adopted as a ‘colour DICOM’.

Barco Nio 5 megapixelBarco’s Nio 5 megapixel displays can be used for mammography

Maximum output from the 21.3″ 2560 x 2048 (5:4) panel is 1,225 cd/m², while DICOM calibrated luminance is 500 cd/m². Contrast is 1200:1 and response time (Tr + Tf) is 25ms. Inputs are DVI-D or DisplayPort.

Barco has developed a lot of features in its driver software that are intended to very specifically improve radiologist performance. For example, the Rapid Frame technology helps reduce the time spent looking at images. When an annual workload is tens of thousands, saving a few seconds on each, without degrading the result, has a significant impact. We reported before on the Spot mode that allows a radiologist to focus on one area of the display, but there is now a Spot magnifier mode that can instantly boost the size of the region.

Other features that are in development and are expected to appear later in the year were being shown including one that highlighted a horizontal bar shaped area of the screen. Moving the bar helps radiographers to identify features.

Another feature shows a V shaped pattern, across the whole display and, using the touch pad, the area covered can be moved up or down the screen. Apparently there are situations where viewers find this particularly helpful in comparing two different images, side by side. A third idea inverts the image in the spot area, which can, apparently, make some visual features more obvious.

Barco V Feature

Two of the Nio monitors will cost less than a single Uniti (but ‘not 50%’) and should be available towards the end of Q2 and is currently undergoing approval by the FDA.

Analyst Comment

Barco remains committed to providing features that ‘help clinical value’ and lead to ‘better outcomes’. This is in some contrast to the other leader in the field, now, Eizo, which told us that its focus is simply on making the optimum display. To some extent, hearing the different pitches at the show, it seemed that Barco is focusing on benefits while Eizo looks at features. My experience is that it is better and more profitable in the long term if the features can be explained as benefits.

There was something that didn’t quite ‘look right’ to me when I was looking at the display, but I couldn’t identify it until I was back at base and looking at my photos. The bezel is quite reflective, which I would have thought might be a bit distracting for operators. This can be seen in the photo. (BR)