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J Pathol. 2000 May;191(1):8-14.

Telepathology by the Internet.

Author information

  • 1Institute of Pathology, University Hospital of the Charit√©, Campus Mitte, Berlin, Germany. iver.petersen@charite.de

Abstract

A new concept for telemicroscopy has recently been introduced using the Internet and conventional web browser, with Java support for microscope remote control as well as image transfer and discussion (http://amba.charite.de/telemic/). The system has two major components: the telemicroscopy server, which is a computer with Internet access connected to the automatic microscope, and the telemicroscopy client, who remotely operates the microscope. This simplified telemicroscopy system allows any Internet user to become a consultant for telepathology without the acquisition of specialized hardware or software. For the inquirer seeking advice, however, this solution is still very expensive, since it requires a fully automated microscope. The present study describes a system that can be used for conventional microscopes. A video camera mounted on a microscope with a photo tube is connected to the frame grabber of a PC. Java-based telemicroscopy software transforms the computer into an Internet server, which automatically distributes new microscope images, after manual operations, to all connected clients. Any Internet user can access the web page of the server to become a telemicroscopy client. A Chat function allows for the online exchange of written text and a Discuss function enables the mouse button to display an arrow to all connected clients, which highlights distinct structures of the images. The system was optimized for simplicity, while presenting all features that are necessary to show and discuss difficult cases with any expert in the field who has Internet access. It offers new perspectives for telepathology and it is envisaged that many pathologists and scientists will use this facility to connect their personal microscopes to the Internet, forming a network for teleconsultation. To foster this development, the software described in this paper is being made freely available. Hopefully, this development will promote communication between pathologists and may thus increase the quality of diagnosis. Information on inquiry and installation of the software is available at the website mentioned above. Telemicroscopy sessions using the Telemic version for conventional microscopes can be scheduled by contacting the authors by e-mail (iver. petersen@charite.de).

Copyright 2000 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

PMID:
10767712
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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