Pathologists at the University of Pennsylvania Health System have been experimenting with the Digital Video Transport System (DVTS) for high-quality video telepathology and telemicroscopy over Internet2 advanced networks. This simple and inexpensive method of transmitting high-quality video and audio enables doctors to perform consultations at remote hospitals where there is no pathologist on site, to offer second-opinion consultations, and to provide education at a distance. In Philadelphia, it is used by pathologists at the three hospitals that comprise the University of Pennsylvania Health System to perform real-time clinical case consultations.
DVTS uses 30 Mbps uncompressed video to provide high-quality images with low latency. DVTS can also be used in multicast mode to allow three or more sites to participate in a single conference. DVTS is one of the principal areas of activity of the ResearchChannel Internet2 Working Group, which explores high-quality on-demand and streaming video applications. DVTS uses 30 Mbps uncompressed video to provide high-quality images with low latency. DVTS can also be used in multicast mode to allow three or more sites to participate in a single conference.
Telepathology — the use of computer-based imaging technology to view diagnostic pathology images over a distance — has its beginnings in the early 1990s. From the first static-image transfer systems, the technology has evolved to support telemicroscopy, which integrates a remotely-operated robotic microscope and videoconferencing system. These telemicroscopy systems allow a remote pathologist to control a microscope through a computer interface, while discussing the samples with the on-site doctor. In the future, researchers predict that "virtual slide" technology will improve to the point where a database could be built to offer image-guided decision support, a tool that could enhance diagnostic accuracy. A computer would compare a slide with similar specimens in the database, and flag areas that require closer attention from a pathologist.
Digital Video Transport System
What is DVTS?
The Digital Video Transport System (DVTS) is a simple and inexpensive method of transmitting high-quality video and audio over the Internet. DVTS brings Internet video production within reach for a broad range of organizations that would not otherwise have the necessary money or know-how. The DVTS software is maintained by the WIDE Project, an Internet2 international partner in Japan.
More broadly, DVTS is a step toward a world in which you will be able to tune your computer to a series of educational channels the same way you tune your television to satellite channels — send and receive high-quality video across the Internet with the same ease as sending and receiving email — expand the borders of the campus, reaching alumni, colleagues, students, and potential students through an institutional television channel — and do all this without any significant capital expenditure, by taking advantage of resources that currently exist on your campus.
How is DVTS being used?
DVTS usage has grown steadily since the technology's debut at the DancingQ event in September 2003. For example:
- The Florida State University Department of Dance uses DVTS for "performance conferencing". [more]
- The New World Symphony uses DVTS for distance learning programs for musicians, such as remote master classes. [more]
- The Center of Excellence for Remote and Medically Under Served Areas uses DVTS for distributed medical education. [more]
- Pathologists at the University of Pennsylvania Health System are experimenting with DVTS for telemicroscopy. [more]
- DVTS is also used for noteworthy one-time scientific or cultural events, such as a blooming Titan Arum and the Aqueous Myth performance. Often these events are publicized on the ResearchChannel Internet2 Working Group mailing list.
The University of South Florida's DVGuide lists upcoming and ongoing digital video (and audio) netcasts.
How does DVTS compare to other Internet video technologies?
Here are the bandwidths required for the most common ones:
DVTS provides performance comparable to MPEG-2, but with greatly reduced cost and complexity. There is very low latency because the DV stream is not compressed before streaming onto the network. The additional bandwidth required is generally not an issue for Internet2-connected institutions.
Besides the 30 Mbps, what do I need to get started?
- a digital video camera with Firewire (IEEE1394) capability (e.g., HandiCam, DVCAM, DVCPro)
- audio gear: microphones, speakers, headsets, an echo cancellation device
- a Firewire-capable computer with the DVTS software. Options include Windows XP, Linux, BSD, and Mac OS X computers, the Mac mini, and the Comet appliance; downloads are available here
- a DV receiver (DV Player, TV) that is Firewire capable, or an analog/digital converter(s) if using a non-Firewire-capable camera/receiver
What is Internet2 doing to further DVTS technology?
DVTS is one of the principal areas of activity of the ResearchChannel Internet2 Working Group (WG-RC), which explores high-quality on-demand and streaming video applications. WG-RC brings the DVTS software together with Comet hardware created by Internet2 corporate member Fujitsu Laboratories to make the technology more accessible to the research and education community.
Where can I find more information?
The ResearchChannel Internet2 Working Group mailing list is invaluable for technical support as well as for information about upcoming netcast events.