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Vein Viewer Infrared-absorption interactive "X-ray" gadget.
December 20, 2006 11:59 PM   Subscribe

VeinViewer is an infrared-absorption interactive "X-ray" device using advanced real time signal processing and a projector. Google video. YouTube video with short explanation.
posted by loquacious (19 comments total)

 
More images and video here.
posted by loquacious at 12:04 AM on December 21, 2006


This looks to have more applications than just compassionate needle sticking. An easy way to view embolisms without need of a more complicated device is an obvious (seeming) one.
posted by IronLizard at 12:26 AM on December 21, 2006


Cool idea. IronLizard, I think the penetration depth of the infrared light is not sufficient to see deep enough into the body to be of any use to detect clots, etc.
posted by swordfishtrombones at 12:49 AM on December 21, 2006


Ahh well, just a thought.
posted by IronLizard at 1:03 AM on December 21, 2006


VeinMelter on the other hand is a bad ass fusion jam.
posted by Pollomacho at 1:31 AM on December 21, 2006


Yes. There's a massive amount of research going on right now into feedback loops between projectors and cameras. The biggest problem is one that computer people have a real tough time conceptualizing: Latency. Some early-era HDTV's would upsample video by averaging a couple of frames. Sounded like a great idea, except that if you were playing a video game on that screen, you'd always be about 6 half-frames, or 1/10th of a second behind.

Hard to handle reflexes with that.

We have the same problem across the entire computer video pipeline: These 30fps cameras are at least 1/30th of a second behind, and often far, far, more. Processing code takes time too, especially if it's averaging signal across a couple of frames. And then there's a delay for the projector to get the image out. All of these delays are reasonable for unidirectional signals, but when you're trying to actively perturb a projection based on what's going on upon that projection, the feedback loop is a real problem.

There are solutions. The TrackIR3 Pro is a fairly cheap 120fps IR camera for tracking head motion -- their entire driver pipeline is optimized for tracking IR dots on your head for the purposes of driving a flight sim. This works nicely. (USB incidentally is not a problem; I was doing some experiments and sub-1ms pings are pretty easy.) And, of course, you can redefine the problem so that you're projecting onto a surface that's designed not to be moved too quickly (the arm).

There's a lot of exciting possibilities with using video/projector feedback for user interfaces. But until we solve the latency issues, this stuff won't spread as much as it should.
posted by effugas at 2:08 AM on December 21, 2006 [2 favorites]


The technology is impressive but I wonder about how useful or needed such a machine is. In the vast majority of patients it's not that hard to find a vein for either drawing blood or putting in an IV. So who's going to buy this undoubtedly expensive machine? Maybe a hospital will have one which you'll wheel to the little old lady with spidery little veins who has prevailed over all the local Top Guns of Phlebotomy.
posted by Turtles all the way down at 2:51 AM on December 21, 2006


So who's going to buy this undoubtedly expensive machine?

Keith Richards already has like three of them.
posted by The Straightener at 5:59 AM on December 21, 2006 [1 favorite]


My wife lives in a cloud of misfortune that has sent her to the emergency room over a dozen times in the last ten years. During these many visits, she has discovered that she has very difficult to find veins (but with so many visits, she can usually guide the tech to a good pumper). Still, I'm with turtles; if finding a good vein is the only use for this technology, I can't imagine it will become very ubiquitous.
posted by Terminal Verbosity at 6:00 AM on December 21, 2006


Keith Richards already has like three of them.

Except on his, right?, you know that little knob on the side? It goes up to eleven.
posted by Turtles all the way down at 6:12 AM on December 21, 2006


In the vast majority of patients it's not that hard to find a vein for either drawing blood or putting in an IV.

Yeah, well I'm not one of them. I come out of routine examinations looking like a hardcore drug addict. I would pass a couple of doctor's offices on my way to the one that used this thing.
posted by StickyCarpet at 7:01 AM on December 21, 2006


I'd bet many schools who teach vein sticking will buy one, it would be a great teaching aid.
posted by Mitheral at 7:18 AM on December 21, 2006


My girlfriend was in the hospital for a bad infection a few weeks ago. "She has very small veins" I said. "They're very difficult to find, maybe try a baby needle" I said. Two nurses and a resident later the IV finally got inserted. She had a bruise the width of her arm for two weeks.
posted by Skorgu at 7:29 AM on December 21, 2006


In the vast majority of patients it's not that hard to find a vein for either drawing blood or putting in an IV.

Yeah, well I'm not one of them.


Amended: But for those patients from whom it's difficult to draw blood the experience is seared in their memory.
posted by Turtles all the way down at 7:37 AM on December 21, 2006


I'd bet many schools who teach vein sticking will buy one, it would be a great teaching aid.

In my medical school, waaaay back in the day, nobody actually ever taught us how to draw blood or insert IVs. Well, actually there was a half-hour tutorial in which we were supposed to partner up and practice on each other; of course most of us chose to decline that offer. When we started clinical stuff in the hospital we were supposed to pick it up the way you pick up all the rest of the practical stuff: "see one, do one, teach one." Unfortunately I couldn't find a resident the first time a nurse asked (told) me to put in an IV, so I proceeded to try to insert a 16 gauge IV needle into a vein on a very nice pregnant lady's hand. She looked at me, deadpan, and said, "that really hurts." I fled.
posted by Turtles all the way down at 7:44 AM on December 21, 2006


pr0n!
posted by PigAlien at 1:54 PM on December 21, 2006


Man, this VeinViewer Imaging System by Luminetx gizmo is awesome. I'm printing the info and taking it to my local Quest Diagnostics where I'm due for a tri-monthly CA125 test. Have to have a butterfly needle on the back of my left hand.

This new technology might be particularly useful for pediatric medicine, among others. Maybe for animal surgeries too.

Even before chemotherapy my veins were tiny. After chemo forget it, almost invisible. Routine blood tests, which are DAILY in the hospital, are a real misery. Recently I spent a month in and out of in the hospital. It was agonisingly painful when regular nurses (and forget doctors finding a vein, they're generally worse than hopeless) rooted around my arm looking for blood. One had to go dangerously near my wrist tendon and I'm told a tiny false move around there means major paralysing damage to the hand. There is usually one nurse, who I call a ninja phlebotomist, who can find little veins. Some people with chronic illnesses, like Lupus, have to have blood drawn out of really awful places. I can only imagine that this new technology will be a great boon to people with hard to find veins.

And yeah, it's about time doctors learned how to draw blood. What is it, are veins beneath them? It's just for the plebian females (nurses) to draw blood?
posted by nickyskye at 2:10 PM on December 21, 2006


This looks interesting, but I bet they are not cheap (just a guess but I would think between $10K and $50k). Although there are many situations where it would be useful (try starting an IV on a premature baby that has been in the neonatal ICU for 2 months) in medicine it is not about utility anymore. It has to be shown to be cost-effective. Hospital administrators will pay for a lot of extra IV sticks before shelling out that kind of money. Also, finding a vein is only one part of success in starting an IV, there is a real technique to it that only comes from experience; I say this as a physician who starts IV's daily and has for about 15 years.

Based on a quick literature search it looks like the real market for these devices will be varicose vein surgery and similar procedures, rather than venous access.
posted by TedW at 4:48 AM on December 22, 2006


TedW, kudos to you for being a doctor who knows how to start an IV and it sounds like you take pride in your expertise. So cool. Thanks on behalf of all people being jabbed. :)

Yup, makes dollars and $ense that the vein finder gizmo with be about making the bucks in pla$tic $urgery. Hope, in a spinoff kind of a way, that the hard-to-find-a-vein folks benefit from the technological advance and that costs for the thing will come down in years to come.
posted by nickyskye at 2:23 PM on December 22, 2006


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