Camera tracks endoscope position within the body

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Scientists from the University of Edinburgh and Heriot-Watt University in Scotland have developed a camera capable of seeing through the human body. The tool detects light from inside the body to locate and track surgical instruments.

Currently, tracking an endoscope within the body requires x-rays. The new device utilizes light given off from the endoscope, which usually scatters off tissue and organs, not allowing for a clear picture of its location. Technology developed by scientists detects individual particles of light to track the endoscope.

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

In early tests, the prototype device was able to track the location of a light source through 20 centimeters of tissue.

"My favourite 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,” said Michael Tanner, of Heriot-Watt University. “I hope we can continue this interdisciplinary approach to make a real difference in healthcare technology."