Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Slice of Life - a new technique to scan the human body

04.09.2003




A team of scientists and engineers from the Institute of Food Research and Lancaster University are developing a quick, safe and non-invasive scanner to measure the composition of the human body.

The prototype scanner, featured in the latest edition of New Scientist, uses two imaging techniques to simultaneously build a 3D image of the subject’s shape, and get under the skin to measure body composition.

“Techniques exist for measuring body shape and composition separately, but we are developing a system to put them together in one scanning cubicle with a sensor ring that takes just 20 seconds to scan the whole body. Using an electromagnetic technique to analyse body composition could also enable us to work out the distribution of fat and water, providing a safe and cheap alternative to using X-rays or MRI scanners”, says Dr Henri Tapp of the Institute of Food Research.



Body composition is an indicator of an individual’s nutritional status and health. Regular scans could be used to monitor child development, pregnancy, recovery from injury or surgery and changes during diet and exercise regimes. Anthropometric measures of body shape, such as android (‘apple-shaped’) and gynoid (‘pear-shaped’) fat distributions can be related to health risks such as heart disease. “In addition to clinical applications, our system could become a feature of leisure centres, allowing clients to see how their shape and composition changes through exercise”, says Dr Tapp.

The specially designed scanning cubicle is fitted with four digital cameras and eight light projectors to map the surface contours of the body, to give body volume. An array of coils is used to map the internal electrical conductivity, to give water content. The camera and coils are fitted to a sliding sensor ring, designed to scan the whole body as a series of horizontal ‘slices’.

“Our prototype has demonstrated the feasibility of adopting this approach. The next stage is to develop a prototype system leading to clinical trials and validation of the technology, which we hope to pursue with commercial partners", says Dr Tony Peyton, from the Engineering Department of Lancaster University.

The detailed explanation

The prototype scanner uses two imaging techniques to predict the amount of fat present. The system uses coils to map the internal conductivity of the body, to give the amount of water. Digital cameras are used to accurately map the surface contours to give body volume.

Either water or volume can be used with body mass to predict fat. However, combining all three gives a better estimate - by compensating for changes in hydration. An added bonus of this new approach is that it also measures the shape of the body, and that it may also be able to give regional estimates of fat content such as in the limbs and torso, or the amount of surface and internal fat.

The scanner has the coils and cameras mounted on a ring that sweeps past the subject as they stand in a cubicle to build up a picture of the body as a series of horizontal ’’slices’’. In comparison, a commercially available device measures only volume - from the amount of air displaced by a person placed within a sealed chamber. Similarly, you can also buy bathroom scales fitted with electrodes that predict fat, from estimating the water content based on the conductivity of the body.

The current stage of development of the prototype, which was funded as part of an EU project, BodyLife, is currently being presented at the 3rd World Congress on Industrial Process Tomography in Banff, Canada, 2-5 September 2003.

What is new:
  • New application for MIT – a feat because of low conductivity of human body.

  • Combining 2 imaging methods: MIT (for mapping internal conductivity) and photonic scanning (for external surface contours - shape and surface area). Neither of these measurements has been developed for measuring body composition before (a photonic scanning system was developed for the fashion industry, and attempts were made to use it to measure volume, but it was too inaccurate to be useful).

The bullet point version:

Firsts:

  • First MIT system built for body composition.
  • First Photonic Scanning system built for body composition (to our knowledge).
  • First system to measure both volume and water at same time.

Advantages of this approach:

  • Also gets shape information – such as surface area
  • Photonic scanning helps in MIT image reconstruction
  • Shape with spatial conductivity information gives improvement on existing electrical techniques
  • Can include knowledge of electrical tissue properties and anatomy in modelling the body
  • Quick, safe, non-ionising – suitable for field use, and for repeated measurements over time (to study growth, recovery from surgery or injury, effects of diet and exercise regimes)

Zoe Dunford | alfa
Further information:
http://www.ifr.ac.uk

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Biofilm discovery suggests new way to prevent dangerous infections
23.05.2017 | University of Texas at Austin

nachricht Another reason to exercise: Burning bone fat -- a key to better bone health
19.05.2017 | University of North Carolina Health Care

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

Im Focus: Using graphene to create quantum bits

In the race to produce a quantum computer, a number of projects are seeking a way to create quantum bits -- or qubits -- that are stable, meaning they are not much affected by changes in their environment. This normally needs highly nonlinear non-dissipative elements capable of functioning at very low temperatures.

In pursuit of this goal, researchers at EPFL's Laboratory of Photonics and Quantum Measurements LPQM (STI/SB), have investigated a nonlinear graphene-based...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Physicists discover mechanism behind granular capillary effect

24.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Measured for the first time: Direction of light waves changed by quantum effect

24.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>