Middleware in Medical Technology and Research
In research institutions and for medical applications, precision and reliability are absolutely essential. In both sectors, our middleware platform Gamma as well as software engineered to order by our developers are being used successfully.
At the behest of Accel Instruments GmbH (now Varian Medical Systems) RST developed the scanning control system for the radiation therapy systems at Rinecker Proton Therapy Center (Munich) that are used to combat all kinds of tumors. Parts of our assignment were i.a. hard- and software design for beamline control and scanning control system, risk analysis, tasks within the framework of quality management and the development of a redundant real time capable runtime platform for the scanning systems as well as handling communications between control system and treatment unit. This development posed extreme demands on real time behavior (50µsec process cycle time), redundancy (multiple processors supervising each other), and of course operational safety and security. Our middleware platform Gamma turned out to be an ideal solution for all requirements.
Altogether, we delivered scanning controls for four gantries and one fixed beam radiotherapy units.
From July 1993 until 2003 RST contributed to the construction of a synchrotron radiation source for the German research center Forschungszentrum Karlsruhe (ANKA). Our range of duties comprised software planning, computer engineering and equipment cabinet construction, electronics implementation and overall programming of the facility. Again, we successfully deployed our middleware platform Gamma for this project.
Based on our experiences from the ANKA project, we later also built beamlines for SSLS (Synchrotron Singapore Light Source). This project was special because all on site hardware construction was outsourced to a subcontractor, meaning we were able to fully concentrate on planning and programming. As the current Gamma development tool set at the time already contained numerous pre built components for radiation technology, this was the first project where the actual programming phase took less effort than the planning and execution phase.
Similar to our other projects, the only on site effort for the initial operation was initializing and starting up the motors and I/O signals. Startup tests for the whole site as well as all troubleshooting were handled remotely from our offices in Germany via an internet connection.