Macquarie University’s Surgical Skills Lab Relies on Gefen for Sharing Revolutionary Research Among Peers

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Gefen® Video Over IP Solutions allow lab students to share their research on any medical display without restriction.

This project was named a 2018 inAVation Awards Finalist in the Healthcare category.

Macquarie University’s Surgical Skills Lab is used by the medical community to explore human anatomy. Since collaboration is integral in this detail-critical environment, the University’s faculty set out to make its current research sharing system – complete with camera-equipped medical stations, displays, speakers, and a central LCD display and projector – much easier to use. Iain Brew, Clinical AV & IT Coordinator at the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences at Macquarie University, decided to enhance and expand the lab’s sharing capabilities by building an entirely new Gefen connectivity infrastructure.

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“Our previous system was quite limited in its ability to route and control video signals,” Brew said. “The lab’s teaching station could only send a video signal to the other student displays in the lab, and they had to be manually adjusted for them to accept this signal. We wanted to keep our existing medical equipment while changing how those signals were transmitted and accepted.”

To do that, Brew designed a new Gefen Video Over IP-based system that allows the entire lab to function with one cohesive matrix, thus enabling any video source to be routed to any video destination in full HD quality. Additionally, the new system allows any user to control video content sharing with an Apple iPad Pro tablet. “If a student at a pendant – or, individual medical station – makes an interesting discovery, their images can instantly be displayed on the room’s main projector,” Brew explained. “And the instructor can also send his or her camera feed to all displays in the lab during a demonstration, or with a push of a button, return all the displays back to the individual pendant inputs. The system makes research sharing so much easier.” 

Brew installed one Gefen EXT-CU-LAN Matrix Controller to serve as the basis of the new Video Over IP infrastructure to guarantee seamless video sharing amongst the lab’s 10 Stryker VisionElect 26” medical displays. Brew also stalled 16 Gefen HDMI Senders, 15 Gefen HDMI Receivers, two Gefen KVM Senders, one Gefen KVM Receiver, three Gefen Scalers, two Gefen HDMI scalers, 10 Gefen SDI-HDMI Converters, and one Gefen Audio Converter.

“All routing enabled by Gefen is controlled from a wall mounted iPad Pro running iRidium Mobile software, which allowed us to program our control system in-house. Users can make preset selections on the home page, or delve deeper and route individual video sources to destinations on the ‘video’ page,” Brew said. “As added peace of mind, lab operators can also make routes and recall presets from the EXT-CU-LAN front panel or Web GUI too, providing plenty of control redundancy and backup.”

The system is also equipped with video conferencing and recording technology, including a Panasonic AW-HE40 PTZ roof mounted camera and an AJA RovoCam 4K block camera used for high resolution display and recording above the surgical field. An Extron SMP111 recorder coupled with a Synology RackStation NAS allows students to record video of their findings so that content can be easily uploaded to the learning management system (LMS) or passed on to clients for review and assessment.

Brew and the Surgical Skills team worked on a strict budget within a six-week time frame. With great customer service and easy installation software, he accomplished the Faculty’s goals without issue. “Gefen’s Syner-G™ and its auto-discovery tools make it easy to quickly set up the video aspect of the installation,” he commented. “We also really appreciated the great technical support from the team at Gefen, as well as from Jackie Roos at JAMWare for iRidium Mobile.”

The installation process also adhered to Macquarie University’s commitment to sustainability. Instead of buying all new components for the AV system, Brew reused most of the existing speakers, projectors, cabling and more. Additionally, they used the new Gefen system to enable potential future add-ons. “We bought only what we needed now,” Brew explained. “It is easy for us to upgrade and expand with our Gefen system. We can grow it organically by adding inexpensive network switches and Tx/Rx units as required rather than having to replace entire and expensive matrix frames with dedicated cabling should we exceed capacity.”

According to Brew, “I am very impressed with the Gefen range of products and will definitely recommend anyone exploring an AV upgrade or new install to check out Gefen. The support from the Gefen team during the entire project was fantastic.”

For more hi-res images, click here.