MIT Develops Affordable Biomedical Imaging Prototype
The system uses a technique called fluorescence lifetime imaging, which has applications in DNA sequencing and cancer diagnosis.Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have developed a biomedical imaging system that has the potential to replace a $100,000 piece of lab equipment with components that cost just hundreds of dollars. The system uses a technique called fluorescence lifetime imaging, which has applications in DNA sequencing and cancer diagnosis, among other things, meaning the work could have implications for both biological research and clinical practice. In traditional fluorescence lifetime imaging, the imaging system emits a burst of light, much of which is absorbed by the sample, and then measures how long it takes for returning light particles, or photons, to strike an array of detectors. To make the measurement as precise as possible, the light bursts are extremely short. The fluorescence lifetimes pertinent to biomedical imaging are in the nanosecond range. This means traditional fluorescence lifetime imaging uses light bursts that last just picoseconds, or thousandths of nanoseconds.
Off-the-shelf depth sensors like the Kinect, however, use light bursts that last tens of nanoseconds, which is sufficient for the purpose of gauging objects' depth by measuring the time it takes light to reflect off of them and return to the sensor.