New cam­era sees through skin

The Week - Junior - - Science And Technology -

Sci­en­tists in Scot­land have de­vel­oped a new type of cam­era that can see through body tis­sue and can be used to track med­i­cal tools called en­do­scopes. These are long, thin tubes that have a light and a cam­era at­tached to the end. They are in­serted into the body, and doc­tors use them to ex­am­ine, say, a pa­tient’s stom­ach.

The trou­ble is that light from the en­do­scope bounces off the pa­tient’s or­gans and tis­sue, which means that the im­ages it pro­duces as it trav­els through the body are blurry. As a re­sult it can be hard to tell ex­actly where the de­vice is or to get it where it needs to be. To solve this problem, doc­tors cur­rently use ex­pen­sive scans, such as X-rays, to trace the tool’s progress.

It’s hoped that the new cam­era will do the same job as an X-ray. It is so sen­si­tive that it can de­tect the light on the en­do­scope, even through a thick layer of body tis­sue. This means that doc­tors can see ex­actly where the de­vice is. The cam­era has been de­signed for use at a pa­tient’s bed­side. “This is an en­abling tech­nol­ogy that al­lows us to see through the hu­man body,” said se­nior re­searcher, Kev Dhali­wel.

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