Richard Gerlach dreamed of Rita! and founded VisionTen, in Torrance, Calif., to make it real. Rita! -- an acronym for Radiological Imaging, Transmission, and Archive -- is a computerized workstation with a scanner that creates a digitized image of a patient's X-ray on a computer screen. That, says Gerlach, enables physicians to view X-rays with greater accuracy and precision than conventional film affords. Rita! is now operating at 18 locations worldwide, with domestic dealers and foreign distributors selling the scanning stations for $60,000 and the read-only stations for about half that amount. The digitized X-ray system has industrial applications as well: Procter & Gamble, an early customer, uses Rita! to inspect its production line. Vision Ten's revenues have been doubling annually since 1989 and reached $700,000 in 1991. The company hopes to turn a profit within the next 18 to 24 months.

-- Alessandra Bianchi