When it comes to saving human lives, there are no half measures. Modern equipment becomes essential. However, the key link is man, his knowledge and experience. This emphasises the importance of education of doctors – specialists, to whom we will be confident to entrust our health. One of the places that educates young doctors is Collegium Medicum – the Institute of Medicine of the University of Opole. When tendering for contracts to instal audiovisual systems in the rooms of the Collegium Medicum building, we were aware that we must create not only a modern but also a reliable system that will become a learning tool for new generations of live-saving doctors, and a new standard of AV equipment for Polish universities.
It took a total of 1.5 years to complete our work in the Collegium Medicum. During this time, we equipped 14 lecture, exercise and simulation rooms for students. The most important idea behind the project was to create the possibility of transmitting video and audio over long distances in the highest quality and in uncompressed form, and to ensure automated and intuitive operation of the AV system.
Each room has an image presentation system based on a WUXGA high resolution laser projector with 5000 lumens brightness. The image is projected on an electrically operated drop-down screen installed on a suspended ceiling. The source of the image may be a computer on the lectern or user devices plugged into the lectern’s connection, including portable computers, visualizers and microscopes. It is also possible to use a video signal from another room or from a video conference.
An important feature of our AV system is that it can be used for interactive presentations and lectures. Thanks to the speaker’s monitor installed on the lectern and equipped with a touch panel, and using a graphics processor with an annotation function, the lecturer can make notes in real time on the image displayed from the computer, visualizer or microscope, and present it on a large screen for students. In addition, the image with the lecturer’s notes and the voice of the lecturer can be captured and saved using a recorder/ streamer. The captured materials can be used as a new educational resource for the university’s e-learning platform; they can also be streamed in the videoconference system in remote lectures.
The sound system for all rooms uses loudspeaker sets mounted at the screen. The sound sources include, for example, the lecturer’s gooseneck microphone placed on the table, a wireless headset microphone for hands-free operations, including medical simulations, as well as a computer located in the room’s lectern, and any other sound sources plugged to the table connection.
Our AV system has been automated to the maximum. When any input signal appears, the system will start automatically or else it will enter into the standby mode. In addition, for advanced system operation and control, each room has a 10.1-inch touch panel located on the speaker’s table. It is connected to controllers placed on the rack in the server room. Due to the need to ensure switching of AV signals in the rooms, the modular AV signal distribution matrix is the central component of the AV system. It ensures routing of AV signals from any input to any output in the room, transmission of audio and video signals between individual rooms using a twisted pair without compression and quality loss, intuitive control of AV devices in individual rooms and the recording of lectures. In addition, the system expansion-ready so further rooms and video conferencing codecs can be added to it in the future.
The project uses professional AV devices to cater to the needs of continuous or long work. They are characterised by a reliable and stable operation and lowest possible power consumption. The operation of the AV system is simplified to the maximum so that presentations or images can be launched quickly, even by lecturers who have no specialist knowledge of how to operate multimedia devices.
The Collegium Medicum of the University of Opole is a perfect illustration of the fact that Polish educational medical facilities match their foreign peers in terms of infrastructure and equipment. The new AV standard that we have implemented ensures efficient and innovative conduct of not only interactive lectures, but also medical simulations. Our high-class AV equipment will be used for years by generations of knowledge-hungry medical students in the process of acquiring knowledge of the medical art.