Chester Wildey of the University of Texas, Dallas, is working on a way to detect and compensate for these slight movements using a modified digital camera. The camera tracks a pair of glasses worn by the subject and records minute movements of the head.
"Using a regular 640 by 480 camera, we can detect movement down to a micron," says Wildey. "You can't see movement that small with your eye." Image processing software developed by his group crunches this data in real time, allowing scanners to be adjusted and achieve better resolutions.
The technology has been used by researchers in Texas looking for evidence in the brain for Gulf War syndrome, a controversial physical illness thought to be connected to service in the Gulf War. He believes that the technology could help researchers looking for other subtle changes in the brain -- such as those studying the neurological basis of attention deficit disorder.
The camera is also being adapted to measure a person's heartbeat from a distance by recording slight movements in tabs attached to the pulsing skin. Wildey hopes that this may lead to a way to detect atherosclerosis by comparing heartbeats in different parts of the body. (Paper FWR3, "Head tracking for Real-Time Motion Correction in the MRI Environment Using a Single Camera" is at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, October 14; Paper JWC9, "Real Time Optical Vibrocardiography Using Image Processing" is at noon on Wednesday, October 12).
FOLLOWING SINGLE MOLECULES IN LIVE NEURONS
Peripheral nerves are the organic wires that connect the command centers in the brain to the muscles and other tissues they control. Understanding how these nerves function is of critical importance because of their central role in many human diseases. Now a group of researchers at Stanford University has designed a way to observe
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Optical Society of America