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June 27, 2001

Students Work with Yale Team
To Provide Remote Medical Care


California State University, Sacramento engineering students are working with a Yale University team on an ambitious system for providing specialized medical care in the world's most remote regions.

The CSUS students, who are working on their senior project, have already developed highly efficient approaches for sending wireless video transmission. Now, they're working to perfect the approach so they can simultaneously send digital video over four different frequencies.

Their work will help Dr. James Rosser, director of the Yale's Endo-Laparoscopic Surgery Center, improve the reach of medical experts using laparoscopic surgery techniques, which are minimally invasive and use small cameras so surgeons can watch what they're doing on a video screen.

Rosser wants to beam the surgical camera images from a site or sites to medical specialists nearby, who would provide real-time advice. He envisions a group of specialists in a medical van supporting a group of surgeons who reach patients using small all-terrain vehicles.

But the video was a stumbling block. The Yale team planned to send video from surgery sites to a weather balloon and a small, remote-controlled plane, but the plane was unable to carry enough equipment.

The CSUS students tackled the problem not by trying to improve the plane or its batteries, but by creating better video compression techniques.

"They've just done some amazing work," says CSUS engineering professor Warren Smith, who initially put Rosser in touch with the students. "Who would have thought, at the beginning, that video compression would be the answer to so many technical challenges with this project?"

More information, including contact information for the students and professors involved in the project, is available from the CSUS public affairs office at (916) 278-6156. More on Yale's Endo-Laparoscopic Surgery Center is available at http://laparoscopy.med.yale.edu/center.htm.



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