Scientists have developed a new camera that can see through the human body.
This camera has been designed to help doctors track medical tools, known as endoscopes, during internal examinations.
Till this time, medics have had to rely on expensive scans, such as X-rays, to track their progress.
The new camera works by detecting light sources inside the body, such as the illuminated tip of the endoscope’s long flexible tube.
Prof Kev Dhaliwal, of the University of Edinburgh, said, “It has immense potential for diverse applications, such as the one described in this work. The ability to see a device’s location is crucial for many applications in healthcare, as we move forwards with minimally invasive approaches to treating disease.”
Early tests have shown the prototype device can track a point light source through 20cm of tissue under normal conditions. The beams from the endoscope can pass through the body, but usually scatter or bounce off tissues and organs rather than travelling straight through. This is the reason it becomes difficult to get a clear picture of where the tool is.
This device has been designed to help doctors track medical tools known as endoscopes within the body. This new camera can detect individual particles, called photons, and it is so sensitive it can detect tiny traces of light passing through tissue.
This project, which is led by the University of Edinburgh and Heriot-Watt University is a part of the Proteus Interdisciplinary Research Collaboration, which is developing a range of new technologies for diagnosing and treating lung diseases.
Dr Michael Tanner, of Heriot-Watt University explained, “My favorite element of this work was the ability to work with clinicians to understand a practical healthcare challenge, then tailor advanced technologies and principles that would not normally make it out of a physics lab to solve real problems.”
He further added, “I hope we can continue this interdisciplinary approach to make a real difference in healthcare technology.”