Optical Sensing in Medicine

19 April 2012

On 17 April, at Our Milton Keynes Centre, Professor Panicos Kyriacou of the City University described his involvement in Biomedical Engineering since the mid 90’s and his experiences in the academic, clinical and industrial arenas.

Optical sensing

Research activities lie in the application of electronic, optical, and physical techniques to solve practical problems in anaesthesia, surgery, and intensive care. 

Current areas of research are:

  • medical sensors and instrumentation
  • biosignal analysis
  • biomedical optics
  • physiological measurement
  • physiological modelling

Optical sensors in medicine might be described as being in an adolescent stage, where their power and potential are being recognized, but are still developing rapidly. The talk focused on the application of optics in the development of medical sensors and demonstrated how such technologies can be used as medical "tools".

Some examples are an oesophageal pulse oximetry for cardiothoracic surgery patients in collaboration with St Bartholomew’s Hospital, optical sensors in neonatal monitoring together with Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children and funding from EPSRC. Funded by the City University is noninvasive detection of anaemia in collaboration with Barts and The London NHS Trust. 

Fibre-optic sensors in spinal disease with GE Healthcare, BioInteractions, The Royal London Hospital with funding from EPSRC (pending) were also described. Throughout human history, light has played an important role in medicine. New optical technologies are revolutionizing many fields. The development of optical sensors is a current strength of the UK.