4K TVs aren't just for picking out every detail of your favorite Hollywood heartthrob in a home cinema setup – images with that level of detail can help guide surgeons and doctors inside the body. Sony has unveiled a new line of medical monitors that are the first to combine 3D and 4K images, as well as new recorders and management systems that allow hospital staff to store and share images and video.
3D TVs may have faded out of consumer popularity over the last few years, but studies have shown that the extra dimension can help improve a surgeon's accuracy in a procedure. Previous medical monitors have capped 3D images at HD resolutions, but Sony's new line sharpens the view to 4K, bringing with it higher contrast and better color reproduction.
Coming in either 31-in or 55-in sizes, the monitors are compatible with 4K and 3D surgical microscopes, endoscopes and other equipment through 3G-SDI, DVI and HDMI. A panel built into the front of the screen is designed to reduce glare and reflection in bright operating theaters, and they both come with compatible eye-shields to make the 3D effect visible.
In the case of 3D images and video, the screens can present the two halves of the stereoscopic picture either side-by-side, top and bottom or as interlaced lines, and when using 3G-SDI, the images can be streamed to two separate devices at once. A picture-in-picture mode for 2D feeds can also split the screen between video and reference images and HD images can be upscaled to 4K, too. Sony's Advanced Image Multiple Enhancer (AIME) system is designed to fix the edges and colors of video coming back from endoscopes and microscopes.
All that data has to go somewhere, so the new line includes a few new gadgets on the infrastructure side of things. Sony's two new medical recorder models act like set top boxes, capturing video from surgical microscopes and storing it either on its own hard drive or straight onto a facility's servers, as well as writing it to a Blu-Ray disc, flash drive or other external media. The new HVO-3300MT model supports HD 3D, while the HVO-4000MT boasts a 4 TB hard drive to record 4K 3D images and video.
With both boxes featuring network connectivity, the Sony Content Management System (CMS) helps medical personnel access, search, store and distribute those images throughout a facility, linking it directly to other patient data. Video can then be cut together with standard video editing software.
While Sony hasn't specified availability for the new line of medical equipment, it is demonstrating the new monitors at the American College of Surgeons Congress in Washington D.C. this week.