Almost Xray Specs

09 December 2001


A 'sonic flashlight' developed by a biomedical engineer at the University of Pittsburgh makes the human body seem translucent right in front of your eyes. The prototype device merges the visual outer surface of a patient's skin with a live ultrasound scan of what lies beneath. It creates the effect of a translucent ultrasound image showing blood vessels, muscle tissue, and other internal anatomy. Doctors currently use ultrasound to guide invasive procedures, such as inserting a needle in a vein. But to do so, they must look away from the patient at an ultrasound display screen. This device enables the viewer to look directly at patients and see their internal anatomy as they do things to them. The new device uses a translucent mirror positioned above the patient. The viewer looks through the mirror to see the patient and what they are doing to them, whilst the ultrasound image is projected on to the mirror over the patient's body. This results in the ultrasound image being superimposed over the patients body so it can be used to guide invasive procedures, such as taking blood samples without missing the vein, or doing needle biopsies, amniocenteses, catheterizations, surgery, or numerous other procedures while looking directly at the patient instead of at a monitor. Article about how Ultrasound scans work. Article about how X-rays work.


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