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Medicine Hardware Hacking Build Science Technology

Medical Imaging With a Hacked LCD Projector 57

An anonymous reader writes "Grad students at UC Irvine have built a spatial frequency domain imaging system using parts from a cheap LCD projector and a digital camera. The system can be used to check the level of bruising or oxygenation in layers of tissue that aren't visible to the naked eye, according to an article in Chemical and Engineering News. An accompanying video shows the series of patterned pulses that the improvised imaging system makes in order to read hemoglobin and fat levels below the surface of the skin. A more sophisticated version of the imaging system is being commercialized by a startup within UC Irvine, called Modulated Imaging. The article and video also describe infrared brain scanners that can non-invasively check for brain bleeds, and multiphoton microscopes that produce stunning images of live skin cells."

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Medical Imaging With a Hacked LCD Projector

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  • by berzerke ( 319205 ) on Tuesday January 03, 2012 @08:28PM (#38580046) Homepage
    This is great, but the problem is the FDA has these rules about medical devices and the testing and requirements and redtape you have wade through before this device can be legally used in a medical environment.
    • thank the Dalkon Shield, and several dozen other money grubbing, lying murderers who caused the FDA to behave like it does.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      That's what grad students are for.

      -A BLI grad student.

    • by Rich0 ( 548339 )

      I think that is a sort-of thing. If you don't actually market it as a medical device, then it isn't regulated as a medical device. You can use 50 cent light-bulbs in a hospital room, for example. Of course, using something not certified as a medical device to make a diagnosis could subject you to liability, so there is a line to walk. Oh, and most insurers won't pay for things that aren't certified. So, if you're charging for an office visit and the doctor pulls out one of these then that wouldn't matt

  • They invented the artificial heart... but most its population could not receive the simplest of medical care. That was called 'backwards' and 'repressive', and yet we are slowly reproducing the same model in the US.

    • We're not moving to Apartheid any more than we're moving to Naziism in the US. Sure things are bad, but let's try to keep a little bit of perspective. I don't see any calls for rounding up massive numbers of people to throw in camps nor is there anybody presently in prison solely for speaking out against abuses of power by the government either.

      • Re:south africa (Score:4, Informative)

        by Charliemopps ( 1157495 ) on Tuesday January 03, 2012 @09:30PM (#38580540)
        3.1% of the US adult population is in Jail, Prison, Probation or parole. 22% of those for drug offenses and over 50% for non violent crimes. We have the highest rate of incarceration in the world. Double or even triple the rate of any other industrialized nation and dwarfing even totalitarian regimes like North Korea or Iran. We have some of the longest prison terms in the world for non-violent offenses. Or current prison population is the highest its been in US history and is over 5x the second highest peek in our history during the great depression. No, we're Nazi Germany... in the US the justice system is blind to your race... just not your wallet.
        • I think thats better than New Zealand, where murders roam free after a few years and kill even more people while on patrole who then get thousands of dollars of free medical care because they were shot in the leg by an officer while on the run after they shot and killed an innocent man. Not pointing [] any fingers...
          • It's easy to find cases that exempt you from having a reasonable argument. One finds "mentalists" in every environment, at least he is in prison. I find NZ to be a safe place to walk, my front and back house doors are regularly left open and my child can play in the garden without being harassed. We moved here from Scotland where there is violence, drug and gang related problems as well as the religious bigotry and class structures. Not saying that NZ doesn't have it's problems but where I live it is better
          • by sjames ( 1099 )

            He committed a crime, went to prison. Got out and committed a crime right off the bat. As a result, he's now in prison long enough that he'll be too feeble to commit a crime when he gets out. What's the problem again?

            • a standard "Life" sentence in NZ offers parole in 10 years
              • by sjames ( 1099 )

                But the page you linked says he is eligible for release in 2033 (but not assured of it). He did 14 years the first time around. It's not really supporting your point very well.

                • Its a bit off topic but he is a special case, its his second murder, there is also aggravated assault and attempted murder in there as well, along with assault and attempted murder of inmate while in prison. If you look at other murderers on that website they mostly have 10 years non-parole period with manslaughter going from 3 to 7 years
          • So the knowledge that lots of non-violent offenders and pot heads are locked up in the US comforts you enough that you can ignore the fact that you are 2.7X more likely to be murdered in the US (*murder rate 4.8/100K) than in NZ (*1.76/100K) ?

            * []

            I'd say that statistically speaking, whatever they are doing seems to be working better than the US strategy. Your one piece of anecdotal evidence doesn't change that.

        • Yeah, that's really fair, you do realize that North Korea summarily executes people, right? Of course they're going to have a low incarceration rate the entire country is effectively a prison and 10% of the population has starved to death over the reign of Kim Jong IL.

          Iran is very much the same way, they don't tend to keep people in prison very long, they execute people fairly regularly for things like witchcraft and sodomy.

          As for your bit about non-violent crimes, doesn't matter whether they're non-violent

      • We're not moving to Apartheid any more than we're moving to Naziism in the US. Sure things are bad, but let's try to keep a little bit of perspective. I don't see any calls for rounding up massive numbers of people to throw in camps nor is there anybody presently in prison solely for speaking out against abuses of power by the government either.

        You may "believe" that - but maybe you should get out a little more.... I've travelled around most of the US, and been there many times - lots of nice people, many of them woefully ignorant. I also travelled through SA in the apartheid era (and was briefly locked up in a backlash against my country for boycotting the apartheid regime, nicest people I met in SA were in Durban gaol).

        But in all the world (and I've travelled most of it) only the US and it's unofficial states (like Jamaica) has black ghettos - a

    • They invented the artificial heart...

      Yes they did - and if you know your history you'd know that the first trials all failed. But do you know what that white stuff was that they put in the chest cavity?*1 First class genius's and humanitarians (of the SDAF kind, and that's not a casual link if you know your modern history)

      Do you know what the thread they used to sew up the incisions was made of? I'm betting you don't - or else you're dumber than boot full of dead frogs.

      but most its population could not receive the simplest of medical care.

      That's the part of the population who unwillingly were the hidden guinea pi

  • by rmdyer ( 267137 ) on Tuesday January 03, 2012 @08:51PM (#38580196)

    And later, after it is patented, made into a product, and commercialized, it will cost most hospitals more than $100,000.00. And when you need a scan, your bill will show an $8,000.00 medical imaging cost to the insurance company, while your out of pocket will be $2,000.00. And since it is patented, nobody will be able to raise the capital to compete for many years to come.

    • $100k if it works isn't that big of a deal, most of the cost of tests of that sort isn't the medical equipment, it's having somebody with relevant training to interpret the results. $100k for a device like this would be a bargain, you amortize the cost over a number of years and really the number of times it's used and you're probably not talking about more than a few dollars each time it's used.

    • and note that there is nothing amazing about this application of existing technologies, so there is no reason for this to cost much more than any of the new CPUs that Intel is selling for example.

      But there is a huge difference there - FDA and all of the government might that stands behind the health care / insurance monopolies with government protections, anything from patents to laws on advertising, etc.

      Technology is supposed to make medical procedures cheaper, not more expensive, just like the narrator sa

      • by Rich0 ( 548339 )

        I remember in my undergraduate days having to make a salt pellet for FT-IR analysis (you mix a compound with KCl and compress it so that you end up with a semi-reflective surface that you reflect an IR beam off of). It is a pretty common analysis. The amusing thing was that we had this shaker you used to mix the salt with your compound to homogenize it. The shaker apparently cost 10x what any comparable piece of lab equipment would cost (it just was a motor and a little metal chamber with a metal bead in

    • by Rich0 ( 548339 )

      And when you need a scan, your bill will show an $8,000.00 medical imaging cost to the insurance company, while your out of pocket will be $2,000.00. And since it is patented, nobody will be able to raise the capital to compete for many years to come.

      A few corrections. Your bill will show an $8000 invoice sent to the insurance company. The insurance company will then send an explanation of benefits which states that they will pay $800, you will pay $200, and the biller can forget about the other $7k. If you don't have insurance then you'll just directly get a bill for $8k, and then you'll beg and plead with them on the phone and they'll offer to give you a special discount and only charge you $2k and you'll think you're getting a good deal because th

  • by smpoole7 ( 1467717 ) on Tuesday January 03, 2012 @09:03PM (#38580296) Homepage

    captured prisoners were tied, then placed inside of logs while people beat on the outside with clubs and hammers.

    In the United States, we have a higher tech version called an "MRI."

    If this technology pans out, I'll mail them a hot dog. If it keeps me from ever having an MRI again, I'll send them THREE hot dogs. Any way they want them. :)

    • They have open MRI machines now, much nicer than the closed tubes.

      • If I ever need one again, I'll (possibly) permit them to drag me into an open MRI. (Possibly.) The problem until recently has been that they were a lot more expensive and insurance didn't want to cover the additional cost.

        When I had mine, open MRIs weren't very common.

  • Get yourself one of these personal home scanners, a copy of "Brain Surgery for Dummies", and sanitize the old Black & Decker and the Ginsu knives . . .

    Maybe such a cheapo device could enable some office scanning that could eliminate the need for a much more expensive hospital scan?

    Although with one of these scanners, you could open up your own alternative pseudo-scientific medical clinic. Ordinary folks never understand what they see in these scans anyway. Just point to something in the picture and

  • fMRI (Score:4, Interesting)

    by MillionthMonkey ( 240664 ) on Tuesday January 03, 2012 @10:23PM (#38580900)
    I spent two hours in a 3-Tesla MRI scanner this morning getting my occipital lobes scanned while I had to fixate on a dot that would change color back and forth from red to blue, requiring trigger button presses. Besides the expected marching checkerboard rows, they showed behind the dot, every couple seconds: face... face... upside-down face... house... upside-down house... face... house... upside-down face... face... house... face... upside-down house... upside-down house... face... etc. Then, they would show the dot behind words every couple seconds: tennis... cubic... weapon... village... curved... submit... option... mobile... curved... tennis... letter... village... etc. Then, behind four-digit numbers: 8663... 1845... 2853... 9231... 1845... 4408... 7392... 8663... 1424... etc. And finally, behind names of numbers: thirty... eleven... seventy... twelve... eight... fifty-three... seventy-two... ten... That was obviously to pick out some artifact.
    These images were being displayed from a PowerMac using some software from a company called PsychoGenix or something (I forget). One funny moment was when it underestimated the Mac screen resolution, and displayed the central fixation dot in the upper left. They apologized for that being in the wrong place and it took them a while to move it back to the center. I didn't think to look more closely at how the actual large flat screen display above the magnet worked, when I had my chances. But the image was focused down an optical path down mirrors to me lying face up in the coil. During the control scans they said "close your eyes and let your mind wander" and I daydreamed about a job at PsychoGenix.
    Afterwards I saw the fMRI images corresponding to faces, words, lines, etc. They only had a resolution down to 2 mm, so active regions looked like symmetric clumps of squares on the screen.
    • by Rich0 ( 548339 )

      I would think an LCD image would be relatively immune to the effects of a 3T magnet (in comparison with a CRT - though you can run those only about 15 feet from such a magnet with some shielding). However, any metal in the device would still create a hazard, and most likely they pipe the optics to be safe and not have to certify their monitors/etc or use exotic non-ferromagnetic metals in them.

      There are a lot of neat things you can do with fMRI. While in some ways they're more limited than NMRs there are

  • "We're going out now, Stewie. Becky's coming to babysit, and we've locked the LCD projector in the bedroom."


  • Some people are making smart phones do basic medical sensing. The cameras an see patients parts and colors; the accelerometers can measure vibrations. Some devices can plug in for chemical analysis.

All Finagle Laws may be bypassed by learning the simple art of doing without thinking.