IACTEC Medical Technology Program (TECMED) transfers technologies used in astrophysical research to the field of medicine, and is now developing two systems that operate in the visible, thermal infrared and microwave range of the electromagnetic spectrum. The researchers of the Medical Technology team belong to the IACTEC Training Program, supported by the Cabildo de Tenerife. Their results are been achieved thanks to the support of the Tenerife Island Council under the TFINNOVA 2016-2021 Training Program, the Strategic Framework for Insular Development (MEDI) and the Canary Islands Development Fund.
(Prototype for INfraREd analysis of Lower Limbs).
PINRELL is an Infrared Thermography system designed by the IACTEC Medical Technology program for the detection, analysis and evaluation of different pathologies, such as Diabetic Foot conditions. This prototype, developed especially for clinical use, is a tool designed for the early detection of possible subcutaneous lesions, infections and non-visible subcutaneous ulcers on the foot of diabetic patients, which are detectable in Thermal Infrared.
PINRELL uses three low-cost sensors for the detection of different ranges: Visible radiation (VIS) and Near Infrared (NIR) (from 0.4 µm to 0.86 µm) and Thermal Infrared (IR) (from 8 µm to 14 µm). In the VIS and NIR range, the prototype uses an Intel RealSense D415 camera. Its main characteristic is the generation of 3D depth information through two sensors and a NIR-type emitter, combining both in a sensor in the visible range (multi-channel image). Thermal IR range is covered by a Thermal Expert Q1 camera, which incorporates a micro-bolometer sensor with a QVGA resolution in the 8 µm - 14 µm range and a thermal sensitivity (NETD) of less than 50 mK.
One of the keys to the PINRELL prototype resides in the desktop software application developed by the TECMED program, which operates on two different operating systems: Linux and Windows. It has been developed using free software programs (3D Slicer and PLUS) and uses different standard software architectures applied in the software industry. The PINRELL software application is in charge of acquiring data, recording images and analyzing the information received by applying various data analysis techniques such as segmentation, classical statistical algorithms and Machine (Deep) Learning. In this way, the PINRELL system is capable of creating a multi-channel medical image database (VIS / IR / NIR) for the development of algorithms dedicated to the diagnosis and monitoring of diabetic foot neuropathies, performing an analysis and monitoring of abnormal patterns of surface temperature invisible to the human eye.
Microwave Radiometry (MWR) is a non-ionizing, non-invasive, passive and inherently safe technique to obtain internal body temperatures that provides subcutaneous in-depth temperature patterns. This technology will complement surface measurements of tissues aiming at a personalized medical diagnosis.
MWR is performed using radiometers, which are very sensitive low-noise receivers able to detect tiny incoming signals, such as the one radiated by human body tissues (around -174 dBm/Hz at 310 K – 37 ºC). The sensors developed at IACTEC operate at five bands (1.5 GHz, 2.2 GHz, 2.7 GHz, 3.5 GHz and 4.3 GHz) that are discriminated by using filters. These receivers have been thoroughly designed, confining and integrating over its operating bandwidth the incoming signal and adapting it to the detection window of the microwave sensors. The multi-frequency system will provide a set of temperature measurements that depends on each individual operation frequency leading to the analysis of the distribution of temperature inside biological tissues.
MWR also requires the development of components that realistically simulate the behaviour of the microwave energy inside biological tissues. These components are called phantoms, which accurately mimic the dielectric properties of body tissues. They are fabricated employing common materials with varying concentrations to provide the desired elasticity, consistency and longevity. A set of phantoms have been already made in multilayer and multimodality options, while anthropomorphic solutions are under development. They are all suitable for offer ultrasound (US) imaging modality, which enable the guidance of the microwave technology.
Wideband Epidermal Antenna for Medical Radiometry
Microwave thermometry is a noninvasive and passive technique for measuring internal body temperature. Wearable compact antennas, matched to the specific body area, are required for this method. We present a new epidermal wideband antenna for medical radiometry. The double asymmetric H-shaped slot antenna was designed to be matched to differentG. León et al.
Segmentation approaches for diabetic foot disorders
Thermography enables non-invasive, accessible, and easily repeated foot temperature measurements for diabetic patients, promoting early detection and regular monitoring protocols, that limit the incidence of disabling conditions associated with diabetic foot disorders. The establishment of this application into standard diabetic care protocolsN. Arteaga-Marrero et al.
Polyvinyl alcohol cryogel phantoms of biological tissues for wideband operation at microwave frequencies
The aim of this work is to provide a methodology to model the dielectric properties of human tissues based on phantoms prepared with an aqueous solution, in a semi-solid form, by using off-the-shelf components. Polyvinyl alcohol cryogel (PVA-C) has been employed as a novel gelling agent in the fabrication of phantoms for microwave applications in aN. Arteaga-Marrero et al.
Performance assessment of low-cost thermal cameras for medical applications
Thermal imaging is a promising technology in the medical field. Recent developments in low-cost infrared (IR) sensors, compatible with smartphones, provide competitive advantages for home-monitoring applications. However, these sensors present reduced capabilities compared to more expensive high-end devices. In this work, the characterization ofE. Villa et al.
Custom-made phantoms for thoracic ultrasound diagnostic and therapeutic applications in clinical practice
Introduction and Aim: Ultrasound (US) provides valuable information in pathologies related to the lung parenchyma that are in direct contact with the pleura.The aim of this work was to design custom-made low-cost phantoms, whose characteristics mimic the lung parenchyma, to aid professionals in thoracic US imaging. Such phantoms would allow them toA.B. Llanos et al.
Bimodal microwave and ultrasound phantoms for non-invasive clinical imaging
A precise and thorough methodology is presented for the design and fabrication of bimodal phantoms to be used in medical microwave and ultrasound applications. Dielectric and acoustic properties of human soft tissues were simultaneously mimicked. The phantoms were fabricated using polyvinyl alcohol cryogel (PVA-C) as gelling agent at a 10%E. Villa et al.
Automatic segmentation based in Deep Learning techniques for diabetic foot monitoring through multimodal images
Temperature data acquired by infrared sensors provide relevant information to assess different medical pathologies in early stages, when the symptoms of the diseases are not visible yet to the naked eye. Currently, a clinical system that exploits the use of multimodal images (visible, depth and thermal infrared) is being developed for diabetic footA. Hernández et al.
Assessment of registration methods for thermal infrared and visible images for diabetic foot monitoring
This work presents a revision of four different registration methods for thermal infrared and visible images captured by a camera-based prototype for the remote monitoring of diabetic foot. This prototype uses low cost and off-the-shelf available sensors in thermal infrared and visible spectra. Four different methods (Geometric Optical TranslationS. González-Pérez et al.
A 3.5-GHz pseudo-correlation type radiometer for biomedical applications
A pseudo-correlation type radiometer based on astrophysical instrumentation is proposed for biomedical applications. The working frequency band is centred at 3.5 GHz. The prototype performance and functionality are assessed. The theoretical analysis of the receiver topology is described, as well as the subsystems employed in its configuration, suchE. Villa et al.
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