News Release Archive

Digital Image FX Inc., the only company in Canada that uses
virtual reality technology to build effective medical-training
tools, has accomplished what few other companies have. After
three short years the Dartmouth-based company has made it to The
Financial Post's list of fastest-growing companies in Canada.

This is a prestigious validation of a company that has, since its
formation in 1993, gone from doing different jobs which, said
company CEO Wayne Bell, "gave us some experience and put food in
our mouths."

"We didn't start out with a couple of guys with PhDs in computer
science, but we've taken the skills we do have and tried to
partner with others to make it work together - for everybody,"
said Mr. Bell. "We have a whole lot of heart and desire to make
this work."

And they're certainly on the right track. An impressive list of
partners - from the National Aeronautic and Space Administration
(NASA), the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the U.S.
Air Force Missile Command, to universities throughout Canada and
the United States, in Japan, Germany, and Great Britain - has
enhanced Digital's technological expertise, resulting in
exceptional strides in the fields of virtual reality
medical-simulation training, tele-medicine, and tele-education.

Mr. Bell makes it clear, however, that without company employees,
Digital wouldn't be anywhere. "Nobody in Canada is doing what
we're doing with virtual reality technology development, so we've
had to tighten our belts to do a lot of research, and tell our
employees that we have a sandwich we're willing to share with
them, and in the future we hope we'll have more than one to

He believes that it's this staff commitment, and the renowned
expertise of its many partners, that has helped Digital move
forward so quickly.

Currently, the company is developing virtual reality training
software to help doctors and medical students learn how to
examine patients, bypassing an uncomfortable patient-training
process. As Mr. Bell points out, "If you're going to try to teach
somebody what a cancerous node feels like, you have to be able to
give them that experience." This software makes that possible,
using technologies such as the PHANToM which enables the user to
accurately experience the sense of touch. The PHANToM - one of
only 50 in use around the world, and the only one in Canada
- contributes to a state-of-the-art software package that also
includes stereographic imaging and 3-D sound.

Digital's tele-medical endeavours include the distance diagnostic
unit, a modular building currently under design, which uses
wireless telecommunications to transfer voice, video and data,
and patient information and images, enhancing patient treatment
and remote diagnoses.

The company is also working with Germany's Fraunhofer Research
Institute and Dalhousie University's Division of Continuing
Medical Education to test, develop and licence the institute's
TeleInViVo product - an innovative software package that enables
doctors in different locales to consult on patient data via
telephone. It is currently being used by the United States Army
in Bosnia - the only group in the world to use the technology
thus far.

"TeleInViVo can help physicians treat people wounded in the
field," said Mr. Bell. "If someone is shot in the chest, an
on-site medic scans the area, sending the image to an expert who
assesses the damage, and undertakes pre-operative planning before
emergency transportation even arrives." He said that the
implications for improved emergency treatment are enormous.

In tele-education, Digital is developing distance education via
the Internet for doctors around the Maritimes. Upon completion,
they'll be able to access medical education update courses from
their computers.

Bell says that Digital's accomplishments can be attributed in
part to the company's location at InNOVAcorp's, Technology
Innovation Centre. InNOVAcorp is a provincial Crown Corporation
which offers a full service business incubator facility at its
Dartmouth Innovation Centre.

"We get a lot of support here, and the sense that we belong
somewhere has made us feel more comfortable, allowing us to be a
little more focused." He adds that the centre has helped his
company establish links with businesses from places like Belfast
and Saudi Arabia.

Mr. Bell has also been adept at relationship building. A recent
U.S. speaking engagement to 7,000 space-industry representatives
led to a technology transfer agreement with NASA. "What's
important for NASA is to learn from industry, and to take the
things they've learned and say  here, maybe this can help you,'"
he said.


Contact: Wayne Bell  902-461-4883

NOTE TO EDITORS: Backgrounder on the Technical Innovation Centre
is available by calling 1-800-670-4357 or 1-902-424-4492.

trp                      Feb. 17, 1997 - 8:50 a.m.