DMetrix, Inc., a digital-microscopy leader based in Tucson, recently was selected by The Wall Street Journal as one of 32 winners and runners-up in the publication's international 2005 Technology Innovation Awards competition. The Wall Street Journal and its judges made their selections from about 750 applications from two dozen countries. The product, an array microscope-based pathology slide scanner, is used in medical laboratories. DMetrix, Inc., was the only company headquartered in Arizona to be an honoree.
These prestigious awards recognize technologies in 12 categories that include software, Internet, security, semiconductors, transportation, biotech, and medical devices, among others. Selection criteria included breakthrough from conventional ideas and significant improvement on existing technologies. Earlier this year, DMetrix's technology received a 2005 R&D100 Award, another highly regarded international award for innovation.
Ronald S. Weinstein, MD, head of The University of Arizona Department of Pathology, a co-inventor of the DMetrix system and the company's medical director, said "The DMetrix array microscope will change the practice of pathology. Its virtual slides enable pathology laboratories to go fully digital, following the lead of radiology departments a decade ago. After scanning, pathology slide image files are loaded onto a server and can be viewed over the Internet using a browser from any laboratory in the world. This provides, for the first time, immediate on-line access to expert second opinions. We believe that this also will lead to new ways of delivering health care." Michael R. Descour, PhD, president of DMetrix and an associate professor of optical sciences and pathology, is a co-inventor and co-founder of DMetrix. "The DMetrix array microscope is a major breakthrough in light-microscope design," he said. "The array form is an unprecedented departure from the form of light microscope as it has been known since its invention over 400 years ago. This invention adds to the list of major advances in optics credited to Arizona institutions. It's also exciting to see that technologies developed for giant telescopes make possible tiny optics for medical applications," Dr. Descour added.
DMetrix's engineers, led by Artur G. Olszak, PhD, developed the array-microscope product in two years, making multiple additional inventions along the way.
The DMetrix scanner is the world's first digital-imaging device that combines 80 miniature microscope objectives in a single instrument. A principal distinguishing feature of the DX-40 Array Microscope is its speed. Thanks to its array of miniature optics, the DX-40 captures a 900 Megapixel image in less than 60 seconds, more than 10 times faster than other existing methods. Despite that unprecedented power, all the microscope optics fit into a volume equivalent to a stack of four U.S. quarters.
"To a physician or a patient, this is remarkable technology. Once patients see new health care-delivery systems emerge based on the DMetrix. technology, they may view it as revolutionary," said Dr. Weinstein, a past president of the American Telemedicine Association.