Thu, 1997-12-04

New York City (December 5, 1997) -- Black Hammer Productions, Inc. has created an interactive medical simulation -- called the Ultra Challenge -- to demonstrate the impact of a medical advance that improves the clarity of ultrasound images. The simulation was presented as an interactive kiosk at the Congress of the World Federation for Ultrasound in Medicine and Biology, in Buenos Aries, Argentina. With the use of virtual patients, the simulation shows radiologists and cardiologists how they can increase their diagnostic confidence when using the new product.

The Ultra Challenge was developed to support an upcoming innovation in ultrasound imaging. The interactive kiosk invites a physician to diagnose virtual patients based on authentic case histories presented within an engaging interface. For each case, the physician is asked to make a diagnosis after performing a simulated ultrasound exam. After the initial diagnosis, the physician is prompted to inject a contrast agent, and then asked to diagnose the patient a second time after viewing ultrasound images enhanced by the contrast agent. Both the ultrasound examinations and the injection of the contrast agent are simulated using a custom interface that connects a rigged ultrasound transducer and a mannequin. After each diagnosis, the physician is asked to estimate his or her level of confidence. All user interactions with the kiosk are compiled into a database for later tracking and analysis.

Black Hammer created and directed all of the elements necessary to make the simulation an entertaining and enriching promotional tool, demonstrating the Company's capabilities in in-house interface design, graphic design, 2D and 3D animation, copywriting, sound effects, music, engineering, programming, and circuit construction. Although the kiosk was programmed in both English and Spanish, Black Hammer developed and delivered the simulation within a short time schedule.

Black Hammer Productions, Inc. was founded by Mathew Schlanger and Andrew Hunt, who were featured among New York Magazine's "Cyber 60" as leading interactive developers. Black Hammer designs, develops and produces multimedia products, including websites, commercial and corporate CD ROMs, Shockwave games and interactive kiosks. The Company has produced award-winning games and educational CD ROMs for Scholastic New Media, Prentice Hall, Simon and Shuster, and WNET. For the Internet, Black Hammer has created Shockwave games for the Showtime Network and General Mills, as well as multiple websites for Thomas Publishing. In addition to producing interactive solutions for IBM, Met Life and Merrill Lynch, Black Hammer is currently developing multimedia projects for Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, the Wall Street Journal, and the Experimental Television Center.