Collaborative gastrointestinal research gets boost via AARNet broadband

High definition video streams to Asian researchers for first time

Australia’s Academic and Research Network (AARNet) has used its high speed broadband network to share gastrointestinal e-health research with practitioners in parts of Asia.

A number of high-definition video demonstrations of gastrointestinal endoscopy techniques were broadcast to Japan, Korea, China and Thailand for the first time over the network.

Endoscopy is a procedure using a fibroscope designed to allow a doctor to look inside a patient’s body. The fibroscope has a lens at one end and a camera at the other.

AARNet currently operates its own points of presence in Singapore, Hawaii, the United States and Fiji with multiple backhaul lines of up to 10 gigabits per second in between them. It also cooperates with other access networks, extending its international reach to New Zealand and all continents apart from South America.

The transmissions, broadcast during an endoscopy symposium held this month, involved the use of multi-way broadcast quality streams rather than Internet-based compressed video conferencing techniques.

One stream showed endoscopic broadcasts from a patient's body and another stream provided commentary on the techniques being demonstrated.

Chairman of the Westmead Endoscopy Symposium, Dr Michael Bourke, said in a statement that the use of high speed broadband meant that more collaborative contributions can be made by Australia to the international medical research arena.

“This is a significant step forward in showcasing our expertise and we hope this event typifies the advanced use of high performance networks for remote teaching and collaboration,” he said.

AARNet CEO, Chris Hancock, said in a statement that e-health is a growing area for the company and more demonstrations are planned for the future.

The company has also partnered with the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and fellow scientists in New Zealand to develop the first virtual e-telescope in Australasia.

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