Integris C

A Copernican Revolution: Displacing Technology from the Center of the Medical Universe

In the era in which this Imaging System was developped, everything revolved about technolgic horsepower: more powered manupilation, higher resolution, faster processing, more functionality, more add-ons. The Integris C marks the moment where Philips Medical Systems got rid of that perspective and started placing the patient in the center...

“Gijs was one of the most creative designers at Philips when I was the Director in the 1980's. He led a number of important design projects that helped establish Philips leadership in this field. I can easily recommend Gijs as a top designer.
Dr. Robert Blaich' Senior Managing Director of Design, Royal Philips Electronics

Is it possible to design a fully balanced C-arc allowing total rotational freedom around the centre of gravity, the so-called Iso-centre. The possibility of an imaging system like that was up till then believed to be theoretical but non-existent in the real world. Therefor all C-arcs were un-balanced and thus motorised. With the available chunky soft- and hardware of those days, this resulted in heavy, noisy systems. Incomprehensble controls added to the general feeling of being at the mercy of an apparatus mastodontus.

The Integris was the companies first dedicated Interventional system. Interventional catheterization is an Angio (blood vessel) procedure where diagnosis is immediately followed by actual treatment. Using specialized catheters vessels may be created or closed, balloon catheters may be used to open up narrowed valves or arteries, Coil catheters shoot 'plugs' to stop blood flow in a blood vessel. The entire procedure is executed with the aid of real time, on-screen images produced by the Integris X-ray system.

The procedure starts by entering a catheter through a small incision in the groin which is fed all the way to the region of interest. The blood vessel system provides the infra structure and maneuvering through this maze, the radiologist shoots X-ray beams through the body. The arteries are filled with contrast fluids creating an image that is captured by an Image Intensifier and translated into video signals by a digital CCD camera. Now imagine you would have to position and adjust a heavy Hasselblad camera on a tripod with motorized long would it take you to accurately position the equipment? A radiologist is in exactly that position: he would love to be able to do that Manually but traditionally needs motorized, computer calculated movements because his imaging chain involves heavy equipment not in the least because of the lead shielded X-ray tube. The only way our radiologist can perform the positioning by hand, is if the system is fully balanced in all possible positions. This is exactly what the Integris provides: an image chain that can describe a full sphere around an iso-centre 970 mm above floor level. In case the radiologist wants to position the C-arc in line with the table, the C-arc is wide enough to reach the heart making the system fit for cardio interventions. The entire system can be swept aside in case of emergency.


It is generally accepted that this project has hallmarked the new approach in designing equipment that has earned both Philips Medical Systems and Philips Professional Equipment Design great acclaim. Although by 1987 the product catalogue was harmonised (all products, both Philips designs as wel as OEM were unicoloured and uniformly graphicaly treated), patient comfort was overshadowed by the sheer exuberance, extrovertness and dominance of technology: at Philips Medical Systems everybody had a fetish for technology. The company was one of the three giants offering a complete range of medical systems and related products competing only with Siemens and General Electric. It was generally accepted that both these two companies were well ahead of Philips as far as design quality was concerned. Japanese competition was emerging but lagging behind. As anybody could read in the annual report Philips Medical Systems seldom made any money. All that has changed: Philips Healthcare is now the mother companies' cash cow and it's designers present spectacular patient freindly and truely integrated 'medical environments' that are leading the way in  the industry.


This project was executed while Gijs Ockeloen was working at Philips Design. The project lasted over a year. The team consisted of 15 persons and just one designer. We were more often in a hospital observing catherisations than anywhere else. Although this was the era that CAD entered the designers' tool box and we did have access to huge Integraph consoles, we preferred the real feel of old school but full size cardboard models right form the beginning all the way through the end. Since these products are just under 3 metres high we cleared and permanently occupied one of the photo studios and changed it into our personal Cath lab. The first brochures were shot using our plastered and battered foam board mock-ups.


The integris is one of these projects where all team members devoted their best and outperformed themselves. A fully balanced system only makes sense if the total mass is resluting in low moments of inertia. A Thin-walled alumninium casting for the C-arc was required. Mechanical engineer Ton van de Vegt made that possible. Keeping the six mechanical and four electronic engineers on track while developping en engineering all components was Jan van Enschots' achievement. Project leader Curt Schuppert allowed us all to take risks and pursue the most interesting trajectories and so did product managers Rob van de Ploeg. Hospital specialist Louis van Es contributed his vast amount of Cath-Lab expertise. Joep Jansen managed the entire development group.

IF Gold Award: top 10 of the Year Hannover Messe 1990 Jury: Kenji Ekuan, Vittorio Magnago Lampugnan, prof. Stefan Lengyel, prof Herbert Lindinger, prof Dieter Rams, Michele de Lucchi, Deane Richardson, Yuri Borisovitch Soloviev,Herbert H. Schultes, Robert I. Blaich (non voting)
Annual Design Review 1990 ID magazine Best of Category Equipment Jury: Gary Grossman, Marc Harridson, Elizabeth Walters
Health and Science
Project kick-off: 
January 1988
Project delivered: 
January 1990
Product Design
Project size: 
Advanced Medical Equipment
Project developers: 
Gijs Ockeloen
Health and science
User testing
Product design
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