The ENDO-VV (eVV - endovascularvision: New endoscopic tools for real time vascular assisted vision) project was a partnership between academia and industry. The industrial partner had already provided proof-of-principle and a patent on endoscopic-assisted visualisation using infrared light and spectral segmentation. The project goal was development of a fully functioning endoscopic instrumentation system prototype for preclinical studies. Important progress was achieved, beginning with the development of a robust segmentation algorithm for superficial vessels utilising both visible and infrared lights. The team also produced fully functioning hardware for use in human and experimental surgery. The fully functioning ENDO-VV system prototype has an endoscopic tower with double screens for normal and 'vascular' vision in real time. Despite their successful use in surgery, there were issues with the detection of submucosal and hidden vessels as well as real clinical situations such as movement and changes in depth. Due to time and other constraints, researchers refocused their efforts on exploring new illumination modalities and camera systems to achieve reproducible performance under clinically relevant conditions. ENDO-VV investigated the parameters affecting signal quality under clinical conditions using phantoms and animal experiments by varying wavelength and camera set-up. They also worked on improving the efficacy of signal processing algorithms for better blood vessel segmentation through texture analysis. Even though the project has ended, project partners continue to work on resolving issues with visualisation of submucosal, sub-fat and non-visible vessels. Meanwhile, the ENDO-VV prototype can still be used for future experiments until the clinical prototype is developed. Commercialisation of such a device would prove invaluable in biomedicine and benefit millions of patients.
Vascular, endoscopic tools, ENDO-VV, infrared light, spectral segmentation