Advances in digital photography have made it an efficient and economic option for dermatology applications to document skin characteristics during treatment planning and to assess treatment outcome. Commercial-grade digital cameras, however, are not equivalent and different brands will produce pictures that are surprisingly variable with qualitative color information that the clinician will interpret to assess physiological tissue health. Advanced optical imaging methods and devices offer the ability to perform quantitative characterization of tissue structure and biochemical status. To this end, the design and fabrication of a low-cost, hand-held, quantitative skin imaging camera that exploits a new imaging technique known as Modulated Imaging (MI) has been proposed. Additionally, assessment of the performance of the device on tissue phantoms will provide objective parameters that can be used to determine performance for in-vivo tissue analysis. Modulated Imaging (MI), a technology that has been developed over the course of the most recent Laser and Medical Microbeam Program (LAMMP) funded under a NIH/NCRR Biomedical Technology Resource Center grant, employs multispectral, patterned illumination to non-invasively obtain optical properties of tissues over a wide field-of-view to determine the in-vivo concentrations of chromophores, namely oxy/deoxy-hemoglobin (HbO2/Hb) and water (H2O). In addition, the system can determine the true reflectivity of the skin and account for body curvature to generate calibrated RGB images, and potentially measure the melanin concentration. The broad goal of this proposal is to take the MI technology and develop a handheld camera akin to a digital- SLR. In addition to providing more accurate RGB assessment, this effort will transition a technology that provides quantitative biochemical information of the skin into a device with wider applicability in research and development applications where it is currently too expensive and cumbersome to do so. This proposal details the efforts to methodically investigate and develop this technology in the following progression: 1) Develop and document the requirements for an MI-DSLR system for dermatology applications, 2) Perform modeling and simulations for wavelength/frequency optimization, 3) Design and fabricate an MI-DSLR camera that satisfies the requirements developed, and 4) Validate the MI-DSLR performance in a laboratory setting. The successful completion of the Phase I research outlined herein, will allow a Phase II proposal that will expand upon this research and will involve the design and fabrication of multiple hand-held devices for clinical testing. The ultimate intent will be to develop the MI-DSLR quantitative camera system for research and commercial use in any medical application where digital cameras are currently being used for documenting skin characteristics.
We propose to exploit a novel imaging technique known as Modulated Imaging (MI) to develop an improved, hand-held digital camera system for dermatology applications that will provide more accurate color rendition and tissue health status then what is currently available. This camera will enable doctors to make better assessments during per-treatment planning and post- treatment evaluation, leading to cost-effective and improved patient care.
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