Photo: MBR Optical Systems
Revolution in Medical Technology
Thanks to a unique new measurement technique, blood test results can be obtained non-invasively in the future. Highly precise fiber optic light conductors from SCHOTT play a key role.
It sounds like a scene from a science fiction movie: While giving first aid to an injured person, a paramedic holds a sensor next to that person’s arm for a short moment. Seconds later, an exact analysis of the most important blood parameters is shown on a display – free of pain and without having to draw blood. These values are immediately sent to the hospital, where the appropriate measures can be initiated without delay. What sounds like a vision for the future is actually very real. Based in Wuppertal, Germany, MBR Optical Systems has developed a unique device in recent few years that represents a revolution in the area of medical measurement technology. The instrument called “Haemospect” was introduced to the public at the world’s largest medical exhibition “Medica” in Düsseldorf in 2008. The measuring principle is ingeniously simple, yet very complex. It is based on the analysis of the spectral characteristics of blood components. This allows for incredibly exact measurements to be made of the hemoglobin value that is of relevance to the oxygen content in blood or for vasomotion, in other words the inherent movements of the capillary vessels in transporting blood. The physicist and mathematician Holger Jungmann and the physician Michael Schietzel have been working on a solution for measuring blood with the help of light already since the beginning of the 1990s. This not only makes it much easier to obtain measurement values, it also lowers the risk of infection.
The main pieces of “Haemospect” include fiber optic light conductors that are manufactured by SCHOTT Lighting and Imaging. A sensor head placed on the skin projects a white light into the underlying tissue via a waveguide. Some of the projected light is absorbed by the various components of tissue, much like a defined fingerprint, while some of it is reflected. This method is referred to as reflection spectrometry. Another waveguide transmits the light reflected as a result of the physical conditions back to the device. Then, a spectrometer breaks the light down into its separate wavelengths and an electronic evaluation unit connected to the system analyzes it. The resulting data is then processed using an algorithm developed by MBR and visualized on the display of the device in the form of quantitative values.
Apply the sensor, that’s it ! “Haemospect” painlessly measures blood values directly through the skin.
Photo: SCHOTT/A. Sell
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