CHICAGO — One of the biggest players in the imaging sector is leaping into the fluoroscopic device market with the very first portable flat-panel digital radiography system.

A prototype of the CXDI-11 is on display at Canon's (Tokyo) massive booth at the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA; Oak Brook, Illinois) meeting here this week.

The ability to capture moving images – fluoroscopy – combined with the capture of static images, has been around for quite a while and is used for everything from barium-aided gastrointestinal imaging to joint movement observation.

The twist here is that Canon's device is portable, a first and only for the market.

"Until now, Canon has been involved in strictly digital radiography," Anne Ji, Canon's marketing supervisor, told Diagnostics & Imaging Week. "We're ready to cross over to dynamic imaging. We've been working on this for a long time."

The lightweight portable DR system is capable of both viewing dynamic images and capturing static X-ray images.

"This should greatly improve workflow," Ji said. "They will be able to use one panel for static and dynamic imaging. They don't have to switch rooms."

The CXDI-11 also is intended to provide better video detail than current products with higher sensitivity.

Additionally, "Our portable dynamic sensor can be retrofitted to your existing system," Ji said. "If you want to get this portability, it can be retrofitted."

Ji declined to reveal a price point for the CXDI-11, which will be launched worldwide in mid-2009, but said the retrofitting option will be a "huge cost savings."

When asked about the likelihood of competitors coming out with similar portable units, Ji replied: "If a competitor comes out with a portable model, it would be several years behind ours and we would already be working on newer versions."

That's a sign that the spirit of med-tech competition hasn't waned.

Tsuneo Imai, senior director and general manager of Canon U.S.A.'s (Lake Success, New York) Medical Systems Division, said, "At RSNA, visitors to the Canon booth will witness how our extensive investment in imaging research has produced extraordinary achievements with the introduction of our newest technology in flat panel imaging."

In addition to the CXDI-11, Canon displayed other improvements related to portability:

Canon CXDI-60G Portable Flat Panel Detector, which succeeds the company's CXDI-31, the world's first portable DR system, introduced in September 2001. The CXDI-60G is less than an inch thick, 5.9 pounds and offers an effective imaging area of 9" x 11". The model's detachable sensor cable enables room-to-room installation from multiple locations such as the patient's bedside or wheelchair, trauma or ICU.

Canon CXDI-50G Portable DR System offers a thin, lightweight design and has a large imaging area (14" x 17"). When combined with a compatible mobile unit, the CXDI-50G can bring digital radiography directly to the patient's bedside.

imagePRESS C1+ Digital Press is specifically designed for print environments that require high levels of accuracy, detail and consistency in image reproduction. Although the prints cannot be used for diagnostic purposes, the imagePRESS C1+ can reproduce at a true resolution of up to 1200 dpi by 1200 dpi with 256 shades of gray.

"We're seeing the end of film," Ji said. "Radiologists can use these print-outs for quick review with referring physicians or for patients and then refer to the digital versions for closer inspection and diagnosis. It's a huge cost savings."