Embedded vision may soon replace the need for doctors to analyze X-rays and MRIs. Although current imaging systems are robust, a human operator must interpret most images. As a result, human error may lead to critical information being overlooked.
Embedded Vision Fits with Healthcare
Embedded systems are part of larger operating systems designed to perform one or two specific tasks. They are small in size and have low power requirements. They’re based on microcontrollers or microprocessors. Many people use embedded systems daily, even if they don’t know it. Traffic signals, digital watches, and avionics use embedded systems.
In healthcare, embedded systems are used in many ways. One way is that they provide solutions for data storage. Healthcare applications often require systems that can operate in rugged conditions with temperature fluctuations and exposure to shock and vibrations. Industrial grade products are often used to avoid loss of functionality.
Why Use Embedded Vision?
Advanced imaging systems aren’t subject to fatigue or distraction. Embedded vision can provide automated image analysis. Medical imaging isn’t the only area for embedded vision to supplement human analysis. Endoscope systems have long displayed unenhanced, low-resolution images. This leads to overlooked abnormalities and incorrect treatments. But newer, high-resolution optics can distinguish among tissues and enhance edges. Embedded vision systems can overlay data onto images in real-time or highlight unusual features.
Embedded systems in health monitor vital signs, amplify sounds from stethoscopes, and provide functionality to imaging systems. Other medical devices, such as glucose monitors, pacemakers, and CPAP machines use embedded systems. Biomedical sensors let doctors remotely monitor patients to diagnose and treat through telemedicine.
Embedded Vision Improves Care
Doctors and patients benefit from embedded systems. Doctors can use advanced tools to diagnose health problems and track treatment progress. Embedded systems make the patient’s life easier.
For ophthalmologists, doctors long relied on basic camera technology that only took pictures of the inner parts of the eye, and the healthcare professional would have to analyze the eye on their own. But embedded vision technology now lets them create detailed images of the eye and overlay analytical data. The data can be used to create optimized blueprints for surgery or guide human-assisted and automated surgical robots.
Embedded vision can also enhance devices and improve clinical testing. In the past, it sometimes took weeks to get the results of blood and genetic tests. But DNA sequencers now use embedded vision to return results in mere hours. High-resolution cameras scan samples and combine with chemical analysis to provide faster treatment and improved care.
Embedded vision can also offer early indication of neurological disorders, such as Lou Gehrig’s disease and Parkinson’s. Minor trembling, even imperceptible to the patient, can be detected by embedded vision cameras.
Embedded vision also helps medical employees follow adequate sanitary practices. It can be set up to scan for humans in the scrub room and ensure that they have followed proper cleaning procedures.
Future trends will continue to help medical professions diagnose, analyze, and treat patients. Even higher-resolution imaging will be used to provide recommendations and guide treatment. Doctors will be able to provide the correct treatment the first time.
Learn more about embedded vision in the healthcare industry by reading Embedded Vision Enhancements for Ophthalmology.