February 23, 2024

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3D optical biopsies are in the horizon

Researchers have shown that existing optical fibre technology could be used to produce microscopic 3D images of tissue inside the body, which will pave the way towards 3D optical biopsies.

Optical biopsies, as compared to normal biopsies that require tissue to be harvested and sent off to a lab for analysis, enables clinicians to examine living tissue within the body in real-time.

As reported, the minimally-invasive approach uses ultra-thin microendoscopes to peer inside the body for diagnosis or during surgery, but normally produces only two-dimensional images.

RMIT University led the research that revealed the 3D potential of the existing microendoscope technology.

Using microendoscopes

The new technique uses a light field imaging approach to produce microscopic images in stereo vision, similar to watching 3D movies while wearing 3D glasses.

Stereo vision is the natural format for human vision where people look at an object from two different viewpoints and process these in the brains to perceive depth.

It turns out these optical fibres work similarly, naturally capturing images from multiple perspectives, giving depth perception at the microscale.

The approach can process all those microscopic images and combine the viewpoints to deliver a depth-rendered visualisation of the tissue being examined – an image in three dimensions.

How it works

It was discovered that optical fibre bundles transmit 3D information in the form of a light field.

The challenge for the researchers was how to harness the recorded information, unscramble it and produce an image that makes sense.

Fortunately, the technique developed was able to overcome the challenges. Even better, the technique works even when the optical fibre bends and flexes, which is essential for clinical use in the human body.

The approach draws on principles of light field imaging, where traditionally, multiple cameras look at the same scene from slightly different perspectives.

Light field imaging systems measure the angle of the rays hitting each camera, recording information about the angular distribution of light to create a “multi-viewpoint image”.

A key observation made is that the angular distribution of light is subtly hidden in the details of how these optical fibre bundles transmit light.

The fibres essentially ‘remember’ how light was initially sent in. The pattern of light at the other side depends on the angle at which light entered the fibre.

Mathematical framework

A mathematical framework was developed with this in mind in order to relate the output patterns to the light ray angle.

By measuring the angle of the rays coming into the system, the 3D structure of a microscopic fluorescent sample can be figured out by using the information in a single image.

Hence, the optical fibre bundle acts like a miniaturised version of a light field camera.

The approach they are using is fully compatible with the optical bundles that are already in clinical use. Therefore, it is possible that 3D optical biopsies could be a reality sooner than later.

In addition to medical applications, the ultra-slim light field imaging device could potentially be used for in vivo 3D fluorescence microscopy in biological research.

The study was made in collaboration with CNBP colleagues at Macquarie University and the Centre for Micro-Photonics at Swinburne University.

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Qlik’s vision is a data-literate world, where everyone can use data and analytics to improve decision-making and solve their most challenging problems. A private company, Qlik offers real-time data integration and analytics solutions, powered by Qlik Cloud, to close the gaps between data, insights and action. By transforming data into Active Intelligence, businesses can drive better decisions, improve revenue and profitability, and optimize customer relationships. Qlik serves more than 38,000 active customers in over 100 countries.

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CTC Global Singapore, a premier end-to-end IT solutions provider, is a fully owned subsidiary of ITOCHU Techno-Solutions Corporation (CTC) and ITOCHU Corporation.

Since 1972, CTC has established itself as one of the country’s top IT solutions providers. With 50 years of experience, headed by an experienced management team and staffed by over 200 qualified IT professionals, we support organizations with integrated IT solutions expertise in Autonomous IT, Cyber Security, Digital Transformation, Enterprise Cloud Infrastructure, Workplace Modernization and Professional Services.

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Planview has one mission: to build the future of connected work. Our solutions enable organizations to connect the business from ideas to impact, empowering companies to accelerate the achievement of what matters most. Planview’s full spectrum of Portfolio Management and Work Management solutions creates an organizational focus on the strategic outcomes that matter and empowers teams to deliver their best work, no matter how they work. The comprehensive Planview platform and enterprise success model enables customers to deliver innovative, competitive products, services, and customer experiences. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, with locations around the world, Planview has more than 1,300 employees supporting 4,500 customers and 2.6 million users worldwide. For more information, visit www.planview.com.

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SIRIM is a premier industrial research and technology organisation in Malaysia, wholly-owned by the Minister​ of Finance Incorporated. With over forty years of experience and expertise, SIRIM is mandated as the machinery for research and technology development, and the national champion of quality. SIRIM has always played a major role in the development of the country’s private sector. By tapping into our expertise and knowledge base, we focus on developing new technologies and improvements in the manufacturing, technology and services sectors. We nurture Small Medium Enterprises (SME) growth with solutions for technology penetration and upgrading, making it an ideal technology partner for SMEs.

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HashiCorp provides infrastructure automation software for multi-cloud environments, enabling enterprises to unlock a common cloud operating model to provision, secure, connect, and run any application on any infrastructure. HashiCorp tools allow organizations to deliver applications faster by helping enterprises transition from manual processes and ITIL practices to self-service automation and DevOps practices. 

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IBM is a leading global hybrid cloud and AI, and business services provider. We help clients in more than 175 countries capitalize on insights from their data, streamline business processes, reduce costs and gain the competitive edge in their industries. Nearly 3,000 government and corporate entities in critical infrastructure areas such as financial services, telecommunications and healthcare rely on IBM’s hybrid cloud platform and Red Hat OpenShift to affect their digital transformations quickly, efficiently and securely. IBM’s breakthrough innovations in AI, quantum computing, industry-specific cloud solutions and business services deliver open and flexible options to our clients. All of this is backed by IBM’s legendary commitment to trust, transparency, responsibility, inclusivity and service.

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