At present, the three giants in the medical equipment industry are called GPS: Ge, Philips and Siemens. Some people also say that this is the three big mountains of China’s medical industry.
Interestingly, these three hundred year old stores used to make light bulbs.
As a matter of fact, there are still several light bulbs sold all over the street, but Siemens has stripped off OSRAM (OSRAM).
So the question is, does light bulb have anything to do with medical equipment? It’s really close.
Japan’s Toshiba, also do light bulbs, is now one of the big led. Toshiba’s medical imaging equipment is also the top 5, but it has not reached Canon in the past two years. Hitachi, another big player in the five giants, also makes light bulbs.
In this article, I’m going to talk about anecdotes from light bulbs to medical devices.
In the Bible, God said that there should be light, and then the first day of the world came into being. Light is indeed the most wonderful gift to mankind. Our technology has been studying light tirelessly from prehistory to today.
The greatest invention of mankind must be the electric light: 200 years ago, it lit up the night, now it lights up the mobile phone screen.
Edison was not the inventor of the electric lamp. He was not born when the electric lamp was invented. Even the tungsten filament incandescent lamp we used was not invented by him. However, he was one of the founders of Ge, who launched the early long-life light bulb, and the screw connector standard on the bulb we used was defined by Edison.
Whether Edison was really the king of invention, in fact, it is difficult to verify now. It is difficult to say how much water there was in the articles written by reporters in those years. However, he is definitely a farsighted businessman, and patent application is his trump card killer.
Because Ge holds a lot of patents, it forces light bulb companies that need its patents to comply with strict production quotas. Philips, for example, can only produce half of its capacity.
Wiener von Siemens once said in a letter that Edison’s bulb price was ridiculous, our own light bulb was brighter. But soon Siemens was forced to cooperate with Edison Germany. This cooperation later gave birth to OSRAM.
However, after the outbreak of World War I and the chaos in Europe, the general quota model was broken. After the war, in 1924, GM once again pushed the big light bulb companies of Germany, France, Holland, Britain and Japan to hold a meeting in Switzerland and set up a cartel like Phoebus to re-establish the quotas of various manufacturers.
What’s more, Phoebus has also developed technical specifications, reducing the average life of light bulbs by more than 30% to 50%. This will increase sales. If after inspection, a factory lamp life beyond the provisions, will be fined.
This obviously violates the interests of consumers, but what can it do? Only a few small Japanese factories took the opportunity to launch long-life light bulbs, and their sales volume doubled several times, but their impact on the world is still limited.
Fortunately, the Second World War broke out quickly, and Phoebus died of nothing.
X-ray is also a kind of light, so it is also produced by a kind of light bulb (called ray tube is better), so the technical difficulty is not high. So after Mr. roentgen announced the discovery of X-rays in January 1896, it took only half a year for the technology to be used to treat the wounded in the battlefield, because it was so convenient to find the location of the bullet.
In the same year, Siemens launched industrial mass-produced medical X-ray equipment, and GE’s X-ray machine was also born in 1896. We imported Siemens X-ray machine in 1899.
Philips started relatively late, it should be said that it is not a technical problem. It was the heavy casualties in World War I that led to a surge in demand for X-rays in hospitals, which led to Philips joining the battle group.
Toshiba X-ray was introduced several years earlier than Philips.
So the medical imaging giants we see today started with light bulbs 100 years ago.
The technology of medical imaging equipment can be summarized as using various electromagnetic waves to pass through the human body, and then receiving signals and processing images from the receiving end. So what else is GPS good at besides light sources? The answer is electronics.
With the rapid development of electronic technology after World War II, the combination of optical (electromagnetic) and electrical (semiconductor and computer) fields of medical equipment began to develop by leaps and bounds
1950s: biochemical instrument (blood and urine examination, etc.)
1960s: ultrasonic scanner (non-destructive examination of viscera and fetus, etc.)
1970s: CT (computed tomography)
1980s: MRI (nuclear magnetic resonance scanner)
The ’00’s: PET / CT
10’s: advanced 3D imaging (3D reconstruction and rendering of medical images)
3D image reconstruction, photo credit: Siemens Healthcare Engineers)
Imaging equipment is the largest piece of medical equipment, GPS technology is certainly not in vain.
GPS is a pioneer in semiconductor field. In 1952 at & T’s wonderful public authorization, all three were the first to sign.
The inheritance of PS (Philips and Siemens) (NXP and Infineon) is still the majority of semiconductor industry in Europe. Toshiba and Hitachi were once semiconductor giants.
RCA of G (General Electric) is not only the pioneer of American radio and television technology, but also the pioneer of semiconductor technology. TSMC first introduced technology from RCA, and INTERSIL, which was later acquired by Renesas, is also one of RCA’s heritages.
These giants have experienced the change from the electric light era to the microelectronic information age