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Medicine Input Devices Technology

New Smart Glasses Allow Nurses To See Veins Through Skin 124

Posted by samzenpus
from the I'm-looking-through-you dept.
Lucas123 writes "Epson and Evena Medical today unveiled a new smart-glass technology that allows nurses to see 'through' a patient's skin to the vasculature beneath in order to make intravenous placement easier. The Eyes-On Glasses System is based on Epson's Moverio Smart Glasses Technology, an Android-based, see-through wearable display launched earlier this year that allows users to interact with apps and games. The glasses use near-infrared light to highlight deoxygenated hemoglobin in a patient's veins and capture the images with two stereoscopic cameras. The cameras then project the vein images onto the see-through glass screens. The glasses can store the images and video and transfer them wirelessly to a patient's electronic health record, and they also come with dual built-in speakers for video conferencing."
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New Smart Glasses Allow Nurses To See Veins Through Skin

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 20, 2013 @08:14PM (#45477699)

    Kids love cinemon toast crunch?

    • From TFA:

      The Eyes-On Glasses System is based on Epson's Moverio Smart Glasses Technology, an Android-based, see-through wearable display launched earlier this year that allows users to interact with apps and games.

      That technology from Epson when applied to game, users do not put on those wearable display for hours and hours every single day, they only put them on when they play games.

      On the other hand, nurses working in the hospitals may end up wearing the glasses which projects infrared lights many hours each days.

      My question being --- Would prolonged exposure to infrared light poses any danger on the eyes of the wearer ?

      • by milkmage (795746)

        1) if they only need these things when inserting an IV, they only need to be worn when needed - nurses don't do IVs all day long. a single gaming session is going to last way longer than the 10 seconds it takes to stick a needle in your arm... and it's only for IVs not an injection (which a probably more common)

        2) human eyes cannot see the infrared spectrum.. so what's the risk?

        • by geekoid (135745)

          We can't see it but it still burns our skin.
          I can't see a bullet coming at me, does that mean it won't hurt me?

          • by lxs (131946) on Thursday November 21, 2013 @08:08AM (#45480205)

            So does visible light of similar intensity.
            There is very little difference between near infrared and the visible spectrum. Just because our rods and cones don't react to the different wavelength doesn't make it any more dangerous. The exception to this rule are powerful near IR lasers that appear to the eye as faint red light sources and don't trigger pupil contraction and aversion reflexes.

            • by LurkerXXX (667952)

              "Just because our rods and cones don't react to the different wavelength doesn't make it any more dangerous."

              You forgot the other exception. The other end of our color range. We see down to ~390nm on the blue end of the spectrum. But ultraviolet light at ~240nm will break down our DNA and cause cancer, kill cells, etc.

        • by Obfuscant (592200)

          2) human eyes cannot see the infrared spectrum.. so what's the risk?

          Human eyes can also not see the ultraviolet spectrum. Or the microwave spectrum. As Weird Al says, stick your head in the microwave and get yourself a tan.

      • by quantumghost (1052586) on Wednesday November 20, 2013 @09:02PM (#45478027) Journal

        From TFA:

        That technology from Epson when applied to game, users do not put on those wearable display for hours and hours every single day, they only put them on when they play games.

        On the other hand, nurses working in the hospitals may end up wearing the glasses which projects infrared lights many hours each days.

        My question being --- Would prolonged exposure to infrared light poses any danger on the eyes of the wearer ?

        Unlikely. IR light has a longer wavelength and thus less energy than normal "visible" light, this is why we can't see in the infrared - the photons are not energetic enough to cause a conformal change in one of the double bonds in rhodopsin [wikipedia.org]. This also partial explains why we can't see in the UV spectrum. The only variable will be the intensity of the light potentially causing thermal damage, but I doubt this would be that powerful enough for that. In addition, starting IVs is not the only thing nurses do....I'd guestimate that it is only about 5% of their daily work load on the general med-surg floors (where most patients have an IV already) and probably no more than 10-15% of the ED RNs.

      • by theshowmecanuck (703852) on Wednesday November 20, 2013 @10:30PM (#45478431) Journal
        My impression is that the IR light is directed at the patient. It is probably mostly absorbed and converted to heat when it hits the skin, but the haemoglobin in veins close to the surface absorb differently from the surrounding tissue and makes the veins stand out. Whatever small amount of whatever wavelength it has transformed to after it has hit patients arm or other body part to be stuck, is reflected, recorded by cameras, and is projected on the lenses of the glasses. The way I read it, it is the projected images (like on a monitor or tv) that are viewed, likely as false colour or grey scale; not a full shot of IR pointed back at the wearer. So I would guess the answer is, not likely.
        • I'd have to say that this system is slightly less dangerous than a warm blanket, but slightly more dangerous than looking a person with the naked eye.

          Near infrared radiation must be stopped!

        • by kermidge (2221646)

          My God, someone here who can read and comprehend. Even the summary stated things well enough. Congratulations. For a while I was wondering if anyone here could follow simple prose.

          So, also, the issue of long-term effects for phlebotomists would not apply either. The matter might be with proper focusing and composition of the image so as to avoid eyestrain. At my local hospital, from what I gathered, they typically might spend a couple of hours in the morning and another in the afternoon collecting bloo

      • by gmclapp (2834681)
        The glasses have two cameras that capture near infrared light that is already coming from the patient. The image projected on the glasses for the nurse to actually see is in the normal visible light spectrum.

        Additionally, your eyes are exposed to infrared light constantly. It just happens that your eyes don't "see" it.
      • by brainnolo (688900)
        You know what emits a lot of infrared light? The sun. Nobody ever complained (if ever, we can "complain" about the emitted UV light).

        Actually try this: take welder googles (not mask), remove the lenses and replace them with stacked sheets of red and blue light filter (Rosco was the brand I used). This will block almost all visible light but let near-infrared come through. Wear these glasses in bright daylight, just never ever stare at the sun, really just don't. However, the result is, that you will see
      • My question being --- Would prolonged exposure to infrared light poses any danger on the eyes of the wearer ?

        How did you come to the conclusion that the wearer is the one who'd be exposed?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Can't wait for the nurses "hey, I didn't know you were THAT happy to see me" jokes

    • by gweilo8888 (921799) on Wednesday November 20, 2013 @08:21PM (#45477759)
      ...that they don't have to play "Go Fish" in my arm every time I get an IV in, I'm all for it, unintended consequences be damned.

      Had to go into the hospital for the first time in ages the other day, and it took about five or six sticks -- including the kind where you can see them feeling around for anything once the needle's already in you -- before they hit the vein. And I'm skinny, as well, at least in the places where they stick me. Can't begin to imagine what it's like if your veins are invisible.
      • by Nyder (754090)

        ...that they don't have to play "Go Fish" in my arm every time I get an IV in, I'm all for it, unintended consequences be damned.

        Had to go into the hospital for the first time in ages the other day, and it took about five or six sticks -- including the kind where you can see them feeling around for anything once the needle's already in you -- before they hit the vein. And I'm skinny, as well, at least in the places where they stick me. Can't begin to imagine what it's like if your veins are invisible.

        I have very hard to find veins. 2 hours of poking and prodding is about how long it takes them to decide to take my blood from an artery. I tell them before hand, but they never listen. Of course, it will still probably be 2 or 3 years before hospitals get this sort of tech, let alone little clinics.

      • by L1Trauma (531944)
        Ask them to use an ultrasound. It's fairly easy to find deeper veins with it. My patients who are hard sticks ask for it by name.
        • Thanks for the tip. I'm going to assume this ends up being an extra expense, though, and one that the insurance company then denies as frivolous, meaning we foot the whole bill for the ultrasound ourselves. That being the case, gritting one's teeth and bearing it sounds preferable to an extra few hundred bucks.
      • My mother worked as a nurse for some time, and she has told me on several occasions that if a vein isn't hit the first try that I should tell them to stop, then ask for someone who knows what they're doing.

        I used to donate plasma when I was attending college, and for some time I had no problem; one needle stuck in, draw for 20-ish minutes, done. Then, on the very last time I went there, one of their phlebotomists started fishing (which later left me with a baseball-sized bruise on the inside of my elbow).

    • If she's hold a needle with the intent of sticking me, I clearly will not be "happy" to see her.

      Was this technology funded by famous stars who can't find their veins anymore?

    • by Seumas (6865)

      Can't wait for the nurses to still poke 700 holes in my arm trying to get the vein, anyway.

  • Comics (Score:5, Funny)

    by Master Moose (1243274) on Wednesday November 20, 2013 @08:21PM (#45477761) Homepage

    I am sure that I saw an advert for this towards the back pages of my Fantastic Four comics circa 1982

  • You can make your own passive IR goggles using "congo blue" and "primary red" lighting gels. They work just the same as the ones in TFA but they require about 1kw/m^2 of external incandecent lighting. Not really hospital friendly but they are fantastic for wandering around the neighbourhood in the summer.
     
    Look for Bill Beaty's IR goggles

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Ohh... wait. I can't get that image off my ... yuk

  • by TheloniousToady (3343045) on Wednesday November 20, 2013 @08:32PM (#45477823)

    Haven't we seen stories in this vein before?

    (Or not.)

    • by ZXDunny (1376265)
      Yes, you have. I'm a nurse in the UK and it's been common knowledge for a few years now that a blank photo negative (ie, no picture, just black) stuck over a mobile phone camera lens coupled with an IR torch allows you to see the veins through the camera viewfinder. It's neat to mess around with a really useful with a difficult cannulation.
      • And they make several commercial devices that do exactly the same. The one we have projects the image on the skin which would seemingly make it easier to use - less parallax issues. This tech has been around for a while. The glasses are the new kink, not sure if it's of any real use.

      • it's been common knowledge for a few years now

        So making 10 attempts to get the needle into a vein just satisfies your sadistic tendencies? :)

        • by ZXDunny (1376265)

          it's been common knowledge for a few years now

          So making 10 attempts to get the needle into a vein just satisfies your sadistic tendencies? :)

          Well, we have a rule in our trust that ensures we only have three stabs at a patient before we call an anaesthetist to do the job. I can't speak for my colleagues, but I've only ever needed two attempts... But then, some patients I refer straight on to the anesthetics chap without even bothering :)

          This is very handy in emergency situations where it's literally the patient's life on the line if you don't get a needle in.

    • by denzacar (181829)

      This is not a joking matter.
      Tech like this can spare those in need a lot of pain.

      You insensitive prick.

      • by geekoid (135745)

        That's the best jab you got?

      • by TheloniousToady (3343045) on Wednesday November 20, 2013 @11:16PM (#45478615)

        "Insensitive prick"? Well, maybe...but that's none of your darn business. It'll happen to you too one day, just wait and see. Meanwhile, let's have a little respect for our elders...

      • by rtb61 (674572)

        The why not automate the whole process. A device that uses ultrasound and infra-red to scan the target region and indicates to the operator when they are over the best location and then automatically quickly inserts the needle to the correct depth at the best target location at exactly the right angle, leaving the nurse to just check on the quality of insertion.

    • by Geste (527302)
      There are similar stories in circulation.
  • the "how the hell did no one think of this before" Department

  • by hamster_nz (656572) on Wednesday November 20, 2013 @08:36PM (#45477851)

    Can't wait to see if this is possible to see this effect with the Raspberry Pi and a Pi NoIR camera [raspberrypi.org], given that you can
    use the material from inside a floppy disk as a visible light filter [instructables.com]

  • This is hardly new (Score:4, Interesting)

    by AuraSeer (409950) on Wednesday November 20, 2013 @09:15PM (#45478113)

    We already have technology that does this. We have hand-held devices that shine near-infrared light through the skin and make the veins show up just fine.

    They have significant problems, which this system shares. Most importantly, they show *all* veins, including all the ones which can't be cannulated because they are too small, too fragile, or too badly scarred. You have to palpate (feel) the vein to assess whether it's suitable, and if you can palpate it, you don't need to see it at all.

    Also, they really only work at all on caucasian skin.

    Further, this system is kind of ridiculously expensive. Even though the prices have dropped on commodity displays, microprocessors, 3G and wifi, and all those bells and whistles, it's still a complex piece of gear. We may as well pay for a bedside ultrasound which costs no more, is more precise, and is useful for a lot more than just IV starts.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      > Further, this system is kind of ridiculously expensive.

      Part of that is because the FDA forces such extreme controls over who can buy them and own them. It cost us more than $10k of background checks, both for the hospital and several individuals that would have access to it, before we were allowed to purchase it. I don't know how much more the storage cabinet that weighs just over 500 pounds cost. Even after that, we can almost never use it because the FDA requires it be kept in that locked cabinet

      • Also, the local police objected to it vigorously. The device can make it easier for heroin users to find veins so in the view of the FDA and law enforcement, the device is drug paraphernalia and should be illegal. It's the same reason we were forced to put blue tinted lights in the bathrooms of the hospital. By not doing so they claimed we were encouraging illegal drug use.

        Holy shit! Really? Just wow. Is stopping people from doing drugs THIS fucking important? Really? Fuck it, why don't we just buy needles for everyone and let them go at it. This is way too high of a price to pay.

        What do we get out of it? More productive members of society? It would appear that society is productive enough considering the number of unemployed and underemployed people that we have. What do we get out of stopping people from abusing drugs when they were already liable to be abusing them anyways

    • I disagree. Certainly in paediatrics transilluminators work on all skin colours. To my knowledge, they don't use 'near-infrared' but use visible light, usually from red LEDs. This technology does use infra-red, and again skin pigmentation shouldn't matter. The projection-based devices I've used (e.g. Vein Viewer) worked fine on black african and asian skin pigments.
  • by PPH (736903) on Wednesday November 20, 2013 @10:14PM (#45478373)

    With enhanced vision to pick out a suitably lethal spot. I'm certain I've seen this hinted at in numerous movies.

  • "The glasses can store the images and video and transfer them wirelessly to a patient's electronic health record..."

    Today, your health record; Tomorrow, The World! Muaha Ha!

  • Man .. I could have done with the last week, they were trying to get a catheter in and had six goes at finding a suitable vein.

    Ended up being done by the main anesthetist who did a local and went in deep.

    Many times when giving blood they have to have a couple of goes, it can be a pain.

  • Why not just call it Junkie-Vision?
  • As a doctor I can say this is rubbish. IV access and venepuncture isn't done by visualizing the vein, it's done by using anatomy knowledge to palpate and find a vein that's robust enough to take the needle/cannula. If it's done by sight alone, then it's wrong, there are plenty of visible veins that collapse as soon as a needle is inserted. This reminds me of the attempt to give patients local anaesthesia before having a cannula inserted, which was proved to be a rubbish solution. If you're a patient, I ca
    • Exactly! Unless the Glasses can feel, they are useless.

      • by green1 (322787)

        They don't surgically remove your fingers when they issue you the glasses. You're allowed to do both...

    • by green1 (322787)

      And as an EMT, (a profession that generally starts a lot more IVs) I would love to have this tech available. It's not an either or situation. seeing the veins is a great first step to evaluating which one to use. You don't cannulate the first vein you see, you still have to evaluate the suitability of each one, but being able to see them would be a great start. Limiting yourself to palpation based on anatomy can often miss good veins that are a little too deep or not quite where you expect them (not every

    • Sound like you've never worked in paediatrics. Palpation is almost useless for children under 8, just go for what you can see, transilluminate or in this case pick up with infra-red.
  • Heeeeeelllllloooooo Nurse!!!
  • How common were the adverts for Xray Specs in the back of the DC comics I read as a child. Give me my Xray Specs and a Mr. Microphone and I could be the life of the party. Hey good lookin'! I'll be back to pick you up later.
  • I recently spent far too much time in a hospital and they poked me a lot. A whole lot. Each time they needed to find a vein. I've been asking for technology like this for a long time.

    Finding a vein is now a very personalized skill. One doctor who was a real genius at this, has poor sight and hearing, and told me he does it by feel. Others use very bright lights. One nurse, who was the backup when everybody else couldn't find a vein, said she doesn't know how she does it.

    For people who need intravenous

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