Minimally invasive interventions gain a more and more large part of the operative spectrum in surgery, gynecology, urology, neurology, and other medical disciplines. In most of these interventions, the foremost sensory (and often the more exploitable) information is conveyed to the operating team by means of endoscopic vision. Accordingly, the enhancement of endoscopic visualisation systems is an important prerequisite for further progress in this domain. In current situation, this enhancement is directed to future endoscope units, which offer improved resolution, increased miniaturization, higher automation, better image processing, and advanced diagnostic imaging features. These goals correspond to the main objectives of the project. In the above context, the principal work content of the present (MEDEA) project will be the development of a microscanner module settled at the front end of an endoscope for medical or biomedical applications. Secondarily, technical-type applications of this endoscopic device will be also considered. The endoscopic module in question will be based on the principle of confocal scanning techniques combined with multiple laser illumination and electronic control along with image processing and handling of the received output.
For specific examinations, of spectroscopic nature, three diode laser beams (of different colours) will be scanned over the target tissue by means of specific micro-optic components and a pivoting silicon-mirror system fabricated in the above module. By means of suitable electronics and software, the detection and measurement of the re-emitted light will be synchronized to the mirrors' movements and will be used for 3_color imaging of the observed objects/tissues after appropriate image and signal processing.
The possibility of installing a computer-based expert system at the output will be also examined. The principal clinical benefits expected by the proposed MEDEA endoscopic system are the combination of detailed therapeutic interventions with simultaneous on-line diagnostics, (aided by the 3-color spectroscopic and image processing capabilities), and the improved accessibility of remote and small-size body regions as a result of the miniaturization of the device. Also, the possibility of high-resolution inspection of small hollow (organs like vessels or central nervous structures) would be a significant contribution to the early diagnosis and enhanced treatment options. Obviously, the above assets are particularly useful in microsurgery and local cancer treatment. Finally, extra medical applications of the proposed micro-scanning device could also be possible in fields such as technical endoscopy, display techniques, information technology and other related topics.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts