IRCAD (Institut de Recherche contre les Cancers de l'Appareil Digestif) is a globally recognized surgical research and training institute dedicated to minimally invasive surgery. Founded in 1994 by Professor Jacques Marescaux, more than 8,800 surgeons of all surgical specialties are trained at IRCAD each year in Strasbourg. IRCAD 3 is a new 2,400 square meter (26,000 square foot) building dedicated to robotic surgery, and the latest extension of IRCAD within the University Hospitals of Strasbourg, featuring an array of high-end AV technology to deliver an immersive learning experience.
AV integrator DEYA, a partner of the institute for over 30 years, was chosen to head up AV design for the new IRCAD 3. The team was tasked with the goal of creating a center of prestige and excellence equipped with the latest audiovisual technologies. IRCAD required an ‘ultra-connected auditorium’ with 4K 3D projection to support learning. In addition, they were asked to implement a high-definition videoconferencing system to further support the training of surgeons, as well as establish an ecosystem of IP-connected technologies throughout the building. IRCAD and DEYA worked together closely to research the available technologies that could deliver on the ambitious brief.
“The 3D element in surgery is very important, since it allows you to have the depth ratio to understand the various elements,” says Carlos Alves, head of the IRCAD audiovisual department. “Colors are also very important, and obviously everything must be very defined to see all the small vessels and so on. And with 4K resolution at 60Hz or 120Hz, it allowed us to have all these required elements. The architect has made a magnificent auditorium. So, we had to combine technology and aesthetics, which was another challenge.”
The 237-seat auditorium features a fully modular stage space, with an 11.6-meter (38 foot) display powered by two Christie® Mirage 4K40-RGB pure laser projectors. DEYA also established an AV control room and implemented an ecosystem of equipment throughout the building, all connected over IP with a Christie Terra AV-over-IP solution. The auditorium, which also features six 4K cameras, can live stream operations in 3D with 4K resolution, with no compression or latency.
“The aims of the auditorium were above all to deliver both 4K and 3D, but also to ensure a very immersive experience. We wanted, unlike our other auditoriums, to have a large, wide projection area so we could display at least five or six images to provide versatility,” says David Hiltenbrand, Audiovisual Technician at IRCAD. “We were looking for a laser projector with beautiful colorimetry and strong 3D capabilities. The choice naturally turned to Christie, who was the only manufacturer at the time to offer this type of product. We also switched to video over IP throughout the building, and that’s a complete paradigm shift. It’s based on various aspects that were new to us, so we had to train and surround ourselves with the right people to learn. It was a big IT investment in switches to have a good sustainable base on which we will be able to use different video over IP technologies. We chose SDVoE technology which we felt was most mature in terms of integration and in terms of HDCP management.”
The team worked with the architect to ensure other elements all integrated seamlessly into the project, including microphones that are installed within the premium auditorium seating. Additional meeting rooms feature systems for video conferencing and wireless content sharing, designed to allow users to easily plug in their devices and enable a fluid user experience. DEYA designed a system to allow the technology in the modular rooms to be configured with an iPad. Further AV is installed throughout the building, with the AV-over-IP solution managing the broadcast of live content throughout. IRCAD 3 also houses two labs featuring robotic systems for highly specialized surgery.
“The fact that we needed to broadcast images in 4K meant that the required infrastructure was unprecedented,” says Matthieu Renfer, development engineer, DEYA. “So there, we relied on the SDVoE AV over IP technologies that allow us to have a certain flexibility in the infrastructure. We have a 10G network core, which gives us flexibility in the system and the ability to deliver 4K at 60Hz. So we now have an innovative solution that is up-to-date and completely scalable.”
The outcome is a highly specified center of prestige and excellence, equipped with powerful AV technology, which has blended the required high levels of performance while maintaining the ultra-modern aesthetics of the building. The integrator, architect, and designers were all involved early in the process, having held hundreds of meetings together to deliver a successful result. “It is a long-term project, and we are happy with the result, because we worked hand in hand,” adds Alves. “Otherwise, it was not possible to achieve the result we did.”
“We had the chance to really work together with the technical teams, and to offer something really high end,” adds Renfer, who added that the size and quality of the projection image was unlike anything he had worked with. “There is this desire to always be at the highest level, and we had carte blanche to do everything we wanted with this project. We came up with something which is, in my opinion, truly exceptional.”