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10 OCT

Technology Overview

Vein Finder: High Contrast Quantitative Infrared (IR) Thermal Tomography

The invention is an active dynamic thermography-based real-time vein projection system, which involves mapping of the temperature over the target area, upon external stimulation, and a simultaneous projection of synthetic images. The device uses a cooling means that is configured to cool the target area of the subject...

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Technology Overview

The invention is an active dynamic thermography-based real-time vein projection system, which involves mapping of the temperature over the target area, upon external stimulation, and a simultaneous projection of synthetic images. The device uses a cooling means that is configured to cool the target area of the subject body; hence, effecting a thermal change to the target area upon removal of cooling. An infrared thermal sensor is used to capture a series of transient thermal images of the target area. The device is incorporated with an image processing unit and a projector. A novel method to extract static or dynamic synthetic thermal images, over the time of thermal image acquisition, is introduced, which ensures high contrast image for an efficient vein visualization. Given the fact that in addition to vein visualization, such a device can be used for other medical diagnosis and monitoring applications using machine learning based classification, there is a huge market potential.


Technology Features & Specifications

  • The reconstructed synthetic image is both qualitatively (feature contrast) and quantitatively (diagnosis parameter) advanced as compared to the whole image sequence.
  • Two different techniques are proposed to reconstruct the synthetic image:
  1. Static Synthetic Image: In this technique, the whole sequence of images is first acquired and then processed to produce a high contrast single static synthetic image. Therefore, the lead-time to obtain the synthetic image (SI) is quite high (>120s approximately).
  2. Dynamic Synthetic image: In this technique, the thermal sequence is divided into multiple parts and SI is extracted for each part, hence, provides a live feed of high contrast SI images along the sequence image acquisition.

Potential Applications

Applications that we are currently working on:

Application

Technique

Remarks

Venipuncture or cannulation

Dynamic Synthetic images

Singapore provisional patent (Technical Disclosure) filed through NTUtive.

 

Actively looking for collaborators and investors to develop the prototype.

Breast reconstruction monitoring

Static Synthetic image

Initial results show better performance than existing methods

Data collection from Poland collaborators (N=38).

Carotid artery blockage detection

Static Synthetic image

On-going data collection at National Heart Center Singapore (N=100)

 

Other potential applications:

  • Skin condition monitoring.
  • Skin cancer detection.
  • Venous disease detection (thrombosis and varicose diseases).
  • Peripheral vascular diseases.
  • Condition monitoring during surgeries.
  • Muscular pain detection and monitoring.
  • Burn wound detection.
  • Active breast tumor thermography to increase the diagnosis efficacy.
  • Occupational disease diagnosis like vibration-induced white finger (VWF).

Market Trends and Opportunities

Venipuncture/Cannulation: In US alone, an approximate 2.7 million procedures are conducted in a day [1]. Multiple attempts or an incorrect IV cannulation led to patient discomfort (bruises, blood clot, rashes, etc.) and causes damage to the veins and tissue [2]. Multiple attempts or delay in performing the procedure led to increase the time per patient at the clinics or hospitals. This poses a medical facility supply chain inefficiency threat, especially in the poor and developing countries, where patient to medical facilities ratio is quite high [3]–[5]. Therefore, a real-time vein projection system that maximizes the visibility of the veins through a light image projected over the skin tissue could be useful. The currently available near-infrared based devices suffer from ineffectiveness in assessing the tissues with high fat content or irregular skin surface [6]. It is estimated that a saving of $352,498 is possible at University of Florida Shands Hospital with 45% fewer cannulation attempts, for the given 24,479 cannulation in a year [7].

 

Carotid blockage detection: Carotid artery disease, due to atherosclerotic plaque because of response to physical or metabolic injury, may cause debilitating stroke; hence, its early detection, prevention and treatment is important. According to American Heart Association (AHA), in 2013, stroke was the second leading cause of deaths (6.5 million) globally [8]. In United States alone, stroke contributes  1.7% of national health expenditures, and by 2030, the total annual cost on stroke is expected to increase by 129% [9].


Customer Benefits

  • Easy, fast, and reliable disease diagnosis tool.
  • Non-contact, non-invasive, and low cost.
  • Do not need highly skilled clinical staff to operate.
  • Highly productive for mass screening.
  • Increases the first attempt success rate of cannulation.
  • Reduces the time of cannulation: increases patient satisfaction and clinical staff productivity.
  • The device can be used to guide a robotic arm for an automatic cannulation procedure.
  • Diameter of the blood vessel can be easily estimated from the images.