Images of long sandy beaches, breathtaking mountains, and even bustling cities come to mind when you think about an extra wide panoramic photo — not the inside of somebody's bladder. But new software promises to give doctors a better view inside a patient's plumbing by stitching countless images from an endoscope together, making it easier to spot problem areas during an exam.
When exploring a patient's bladder, colon, or other connecting organs with an endoscope, doctors need to assemble a mental map of what and when they're looking at, given how little they can see at any given time. But the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits IIS's new software, called Endorama, naturally, takes images captured at around 25 frames per second and assembles them in real-time into a larger panorama of the interior of an organ. What the camera is currently looking at remains in the center of the panorama, so that it's easier for the doctor to know how to reposition the camera to check out other areas of concern.
Holes or empty areas in the panorama simply mean it's an area the doctor hasn't pointed the endoscope at yet, which also helps to ensure a thorough exam is performed, and no areas of the bladder or other organs get missed. Thorough testing is still under way, but the Endorama software has already passed most of the major hurdles needed for it to be put in use in a hospital, and its creators are confident it could be employed in as little as two to three years from now. [Fraunhofer]