NeXT based PACS workstation. Custom hardware?

Started by rice0067, June 12, 2015, 01:47:54 PM

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rice0067

Check out this paper..
http://www.arl.wustl.edu/~jst/pubs/1992/spie-1992.pdf
It looks like starting in 1990 there was some custom display hardware (talked about in another paper that I will try and dig up) for multiple 2Kx2k displays for radiology.

This paper has some interesting screenshots.
Anyone have personal experience with this?

zombie


M Paquette

This monster had a custom display system, a special ImLogix graphics card, and a special network controller and network.  The NeXTSTEP software contained the user interface, and sent commands to the display systems.

As I recall there was a radiology database server that held the images, and a custom network (ATM, maybe?) that has it's own switching system to tie workstations and the server together in whatever manner was needed.  The images would move from the server, over the custom network and it's switches to a custom card in a Cube, which was linked by a ribbon cable to the ImLogix graphics card and the attached monitor, a very high resolution monochrome display (BARCO, I think.)

stepleton

Sorry for resurrecting an ancient thread, but I have three sets of the NeXT boards for this setup, two of the cubes they lived in, and some incomplete copies of the NeXT software for this setup as well. None of those things do very much without the ATM network attached, it would seem. I haven't done much further archaeology.

Here are some old phone photos of the boards:
https://photos.app.goo.gl/WF7foGpRe9JvvPnE9

barcher174


NeXTnewbe

Quote from: stepleton on February 18, 2020, 05:55:02 PMSorry for resurrecting an ancient thread, but I have three sets of the NeXT boards for this setup, two of the cubes they lived in, and some incomplete copies of the NeXT software for this setup as well. None of those things do very much without the ATM network attached, it would seem. I haven't done much further archaeology.

Here are some old phone photos of the boards:
https://photos.app.goo.gl/WF7foGpRe9JvvPnE9

Amazing find!, thanks for sharing, it would be great if you can post some screenhots of the SW running

Thanks

stepleton

I've got some non-NeXT irons in the fire these days, so it may be some time before I get to it, but I will try to collect software screenshots someday.

That said, don't expect there to be a lot to see. IIRC you will find a kind of console log window with complaints about how various hardware is not connected; there will be some menu options that allow you to open other windows that don't show very many things (owing to lack of data); and I think there is a way to pull up a NextTV.app style window that will be blank.

The cards themselves are more interesting in my opinion, and deserve better photography than what I've taken so far. Just about every connector you would want is mounted on the edge of the cards pointing out of the computer: DE-9, RCA, fibre optic (for the ATM), RJ-11, S-Video, DIN-9 and maybe a few more more, along with debug headers buried deeper within the boards. The images I linked to give some indication of the chips populating the boards, including various hardware video (de)compressors and such, but I think the onboard 68030 is not visible. Lots of PALs to glue everything together, too. Virtually every chip is socketed, and many (all?) solder joints are done by hand. You can tell that this was absolutely not a volume product!

A friend of mine observed that while PCB prototyping is fast and cheap today, it must have cost a whole lot in time and effort to get those boards spun in 1993, and then loading them down with fancy chips must have been another fortune on top of that!

If anyone remembers using or developing these things I would certainly be interested to know more.

stepleton

I'm starting to poke around on these boards a little bit more. I haven't collected the software on the NeXT cube as yet (note: disks are all imaged and the cube now boots from a scsi2sd device; I just need to gather the files), but I have started copying ROM data, and I took some better PCB images. You can see them here with minimal commentary:

https://twitter.com/tstepleton/status/1431961081908502532

or here if you like, for easier zooming:

https://photos.app.goo.gl/UkXtAgvrjJHcgjW59

Note that I have four board sets and each may be somewhat different.

The next update to this thread may be in another sixteen months  :)

rice0067

The briefest of mentions for Next and computed tomography. Along with some interesting pictures of renderings from the Pixar image computer.

https://www.ctisus.com/learning/exhibit/ct-technology-including-3d/316300

rice0067

Finally getting somewhere. With cool images of the next software from Japanese team.

https://link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.1007/BF03168084.pdf

1995 base price for 486 based system was $7k.

Rob Blessin Black Hole

#10
I think I found the NeXT App showing what your amazing NeXT Cube boards above originally created , I have it up and running in Previous on my Mac Mini Pro 2 , it is called the Doctor.app , it was on the peanuts archive . Enjoy!  Now I'm sure there is a lot more to the software than just this little Doctor.app but it show cases just how far ahead everything NeXT was for the day and even now holds its own. This App takes up very little space at most a few floppies 2.88 MB , where modern apps probably take up at least a Gig lol. Update I'm looking at the app and the paper above not sure if they are directly related to the Demo  as NeXT was big in healthcare. What really impresses me about the paper and photo's at the top of this thread is they are doing video teleconferencing through the NeXT dimension board  in 1992. It sounds like the custom expansion board was capable of doing 30 frames per second  where NeXT had issues with the C Cube chip.
Rob Blessin President computerpowwow ebay  [email protected] http://www.blackholeinc.com
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