UK researchers develop medical camera to see through body


Researchers from the University of Edinburgh and Heriot-Watt University in the UK have developed a medical camera that could see through the human body and track endoscopic tools used to evaluate internal conditions.

Designed to detect sources of light, the device is intended to obtain a clear image of endoscope location and enable accurate guidance of the tool to an appropriate place inside the body.

The camera is based on an advanced technology developed to detect individual particles of light called photons and features a silicon chip integrated with numerous single photon detectors.

Claimed to possess the sensitivity to detect even tiny traces of light from the endoscope, the device can also record the light's passage time.

"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."

The ability of the camera to detect both scattered light and the light travelling directly to the camera allows it to identify the precise endoscope location within the body.

Developed for use at a patient’s bedside, the camera’s prototype is reported to have successfully tracked the location of point light source through 20cm of body tissue during testing under normal light conditions.

University of Edinburgh professor Kev Dhaliwal said: “This is an enabling technology that allows us to see through the human body. 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.”


Image: The camera is designed to help doctors track endoscopes used to investigate a range of internal conditions. Photo: courtesy of the University of Edinburgh.