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Medical camera that can see through body is future of radiography

Thursday 14th September 2017
UK scientists have developed a new medical imaging camera that is able to see through the body. Image: ChrisPole via iStock
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A new innovative medical imaging camera that is able to see from one side of the body through to the other has been developed by UK scientists, heralding the future of radiography.

Engineers from the University of Edinburgh and Heriot-Watt University have been working on the camera, which is able to detect light sources through bodily tissue.

Radiographers using the camera will be able to illuminate the end of a flexible endoscope cable that is attached to the device, which the camera has the ability to detect. This means that radiographers will be able to see signs of medical issues in parts of the body that have been traditionally hard-to-reach with X-ray technology.

The tech used in the new camera is relatively simple and inexpensive, so once officially launched to market it will be affordable for radiography departments to use on a regular basis, enabling them to make more accurate diagnoses. There is no release date yet for the device as it is still undergoing tests, with trials involving humans planned for later this year.

Scientists from the two universities have created the camera as part of a wider collaborative project - that also features experts from the University of Bath - into the development of new technologies for the treatment and diagnosis of lung disease. The camera could be used to identify where lung tissue is damaged by detecting light through it, for example.

Speaking to Digital Trends, Dr Mike Tanner, research fellow at the University of Edinburgh's Queen's Medical Research Institute, explained: "The principle is that some light does pass through tissue, as seen when holding a torch behind your hand.

"However, the amount of light passing through is very low and the light scatters or bounces around inside the tissue structures losing all useful information. To solve this, we use a camera that is so sensitive it can see individual particles of light."

Written by Megan Smith

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