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I took my time machine and traveled back to radiology technology last century.

A copy of the DeLorean car used to travel through time in the movie Back To The Future
at Bits & Pretzels’ Healthtech conference in June 2023 in Munich, Germany.

By now, pretty much all clinics and radiology practices in Europe are equipped with a digital image and findings management system, butlooking back at the equipment 30 years ago really feels like time travel.

In the 1990s, diagnostic consoles looked like a command bridge in a spaceship and 21-inch tube monitors could not be lifted by one person alone. Long-term archives were mostly MOD (magneto- optical discs) or CD (compact disc) jukeboxes.

Compared to film archive shelves they were small, but big ponderous dinosaurs with a fraction of storage capacity compared to today’s SSD flash storage. And the cloud didn’t even exist back then.

What PACS used to look like

First-generation 4-monitor workstations back then are more reminiscent of the bridge of the StarTrek’s show’s Enterprise than diagnostic radiology.
Storage media that hardly anyone knows today: MOD (Magneto-Optical Disk) and a 3/4-inch D-2 magnetic tape from 1988. A 130 mm MOD had a whopping 650 MB storage capacity in 1991 as WORM (Write Once Read Many).
Just 25 years ago, high-end monitors looked like the Barco MWD321: 21″ tube with 1,600 × 1,200 pixels.
The beginnings of teleradiology: a camera took the X-ray image and transmitted it via ISDN. About 28 years ago, an Indy from Silicon Graphics was needed to generate the computing power.
At ECR 1991, radiologists talked about digital image storage in Kodak jukeboxes, equipped with 52 media disks of 5 ¼ inch, each with a storage capacity of 650 MB, so in total 34 GB.