5 US universities to collaborate on noninvasive imaging camera project

Five U.S. universities will collaborate in a five-year, $10 million project sponsored by the National Science Foundation to develop a camera able to see beneath human skin to diagnose and monitor various health conditions and/or complications, according to a Feb. 26 Carnegie Mellon University release.

Rice University will be lead the project, with participation from Carnegie Mellon University, Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Cornell University.

The project will require interdisclplinary researchers from the five institutions to combine advanced optics and computation to "make sense of light that penetrates the skin but scatters off internal tissues and anatomical structures."

The overall goal is to develop a camera that is both noninvasive and provides high quality bio-optical imaging at a cellular site through a technique called "computational scatterography." The new technique descatters light by tracing phonons paths that are taken before reaching the actual camera, according to the press release.  

"Bioimaging today enables us to see just a few millimeters beneath the skin," said Associate Director of the project Srinivasa Narasimhan, PhD, a professor at Carnegie Mellon's Robotics Institute, in the statement. "We'd like to go five to 10 times deeper. With every additional millimeter we go, this technology becomes more useful. We hope that eventually it might reduce or eliminate the need for biopsies."