Scientists have developed a new camera with a special capability that holds potentials in the field of medicine: it can see through the human body.
Designed To Track Endoscopes Inside The Body
The device was designed to aid doctors in tracking endoscopes during examinations of the internal organs.
The medical tool, a flexible tube with light and camera, is used in endoscopy, a nonsurgical procedure doctors use to examine the inside of the body.
The new camera detects light sources inside the body. Examples of these are those that come from the lighted tip of the endoscope's flexible tube.
Early tests suggest that under normal conditions, the camera is capable of tracking a point light source through a 20-cm thick tissue. The beams coming from the endoscope can pass through the body but these tend to bounce off or scatter in the organs and tissues of the body instead of traveling straight through, which makes it difficult for doctors to track where the endoscopy tool is.
Camera Capable Of Pinpointing Exact Location Of Endoscope
The new camera offers a work around by detecting individual light particles called photons. It is also very sensitive it is capable of detecting tiny traces of light that pass through the tissues. The camera can likewise record the time when the light passes through a part of the body, which means that the device is capable of identifying the exact location of the endoscope.
"The position was determined to centimetre accuracy, within clinically relevant settings and models," the researchers wrote in their study, which was published in Biomedical Optics Express. "This technique can overcome the limitations imposed by tissue scattering in optically determining the in-vivo location of fibre-optic medical instruments."
Potentials For A Range Of Medical Applications
The new camera is designed in a way it can be used at the patient's bedside.
"This project intends to develop this for medical application in a number of ways. A system will be refined to enable clinicians to locate inserted medical devices at the bedside, visualising both the tip and length of the device," the researchers who developed the camera, said.
Kev Dhaliwal, from the University of Edinburgh who is part of the team that worked on the project, said that the new device has immense potentials. He noted that the camera's ability to see the location of a device inside the body is important for many healthcare applications as doctors move forward to minimally invasive ways of treating disease.