A New Laser Technology Can See Inside Our Bodies Like Never Before
100 Comments


When you think about looking inside your own
body, you may only be able to picture images like this or this. But an emerging technique gives us pictures
that look like this…using laser-induced sound waves. Early technologies that use this technique
seem to provide us with highly detailed, super clear images of the structures inside our
bodies…with no discomfort or dangerous ionizing radiation involved. This promising technique is called photoacoustic
imaging. A basic breakdown goes like this: Different biological materials have different
chemical structures. The hemoglobin in your blood, for example,
is chemically different from the calcium in your bones, and this means that they’re
able to absorb different amounts of energy. Photoacoustic imaging takes advantage of these
differences in composition by tuning laser light to the wavelength that can be absorbed
by the tissue you want to look at. So an apparatus sends tuned pulses of laser
light to a specimen or body part and the tissue that can absorb that wavelength of light absorbs that energy…and heats up. And when the tissue heats up, it expands ever
so slightly. That expansion and then rapid cooling generates
a wave of oscillating pressure in the surrounding material: the rest of your body or the air…which
is, in the simplest possible interpretation, a sound wave—that’s the ‘acoustic’
part of the name, giving us ‘photoacoustic imaging’. Then, ultrasonic detectors capture these microscopic
changes in pressure and processing software reconstructs an image based on what those
sensors “hear”. It’s pretty different from other current
imaging technologies. CT scans and X-rays and PET scans use damaging
ionizing radiation to see inside your body, so we want to limit how many times we expose
someone to that radiation. An MRI involves an extremely strong magnetic
field, which can be a problem for anyone with any kind of metal implants, and they often
take many minutes to form an image. Even ultrasounds, which also use sound waves,
actually aren’t as clear as this newer option. Ultrasounds are more of a catch-all: you see
everything, all the tissues in a specific area, whereas with photoacoustic imaging,
you can pick and choose what you want to see just by tuning the wavelength of the laser
beam. And while this technique is only just starting
to be clinically explored as an alternative to more traditional imaging and prototype
clinical machinery is just now being developed, the idea has actually been around for more than a century. Alexander Graham Bell—you know, the guy
who invented the telephone?—was the first to observe that electromagnetic waves could
induce sound waves when applied to materials. But the technology that’s started to emerge
and be refined in just the last decade takes that initial observation and makes it into
something that could seriously revolutionize medicine. Imaging veins and arteries this way, for example,
can tell us more than ever before about changes in someone’s circulation, or abnormalities
in blood flow related to cardiovascular diseases. We can see how tissues are faring after surgeries,
we can see what kind of effect a drug is having…the applications are really kind of stunning when
you start to think about them all. Because not only can this technology be used
to image tissues at extremely high resolution. You can also introduce a foreign material,
like a contrast dye or a specially designed nanoparticle, to see things you might not
be able to otherwise. These substances can be tailor-made to bind
to certain kinds of cancer cells or other forms of gene expression. And then you can tune the laser to the wavelength
absorbed by that contrast or nanoparticle, giving you an extremely detailed and accurate
pictures of how a disease manifests in your body. And I guarantee you’re not ready for what’s
maybe the coolest part: there are several companies that are making versions of this
technology that’s highly portable, and are designing software that uses machine learning
to identify different structures on the image for the user. Both of these developments mean it’s possible
that some patients could use this technology themselves to monitor their own health and
things like progress during recovery from a condition or a surgery. Technologies like this are an exciting look
into how we’re improving our understanding of our own bodies and the way we can look
at and treat them. I love how physics and engineering and computer
science and medicine are all coming together to make this happen, I think it’s a great
example of how big leaps in science are, by necessity, cross-disciplinary collaborations
that, by the sound of it, will continue to improve lives all over the world. If you want even more on new and improved
ways that we can monitor our own health, check out this video here, and make sure you subscribe
to Seeker for all your medical innovation news. If you have another emerging medical technology
you’d like to see us cover, let us know down in the comments and as always, thank you so much for watching and we’ll see you next time.

100 thoughts on “A New Laser Technology Can See Inside Our Bodies Like Never Before

  1. This could have been in the .market a decade ago but greedy ass, money minded medical companies decided it's too expensive. Fk you

  2. Could you use this to fine tune the laser to only stimulate cancer cells and then attach medicine to just the cancer cells? Then it could be a precision cancer treatment.

  3. I have had issue with vericose veins over 20 years. This would make a break through for me. Where is this or who has this? I want to back doing sports or even a triathlon again.

  4. Fun fact, Alexander Graham Bell was a fan of eugenics and "eliminating the deaf race" even though his mother and wife were both deaf and he and his father taught in deaf schools.

  5. Bell did NOT invent the telephone… it’s was Nikola Tesla that invented telephone and this and most other technology we use today as well!

  6. This technology was introduced by a British inventor by the name of Royal Raymond Rife…over a hundred years ago. All substances has a resonance frequency which can manipulate (vibrate) it's physical structure. Case in point, a high pitch sound will shatter crystal glass.

    Rife tested his theory on different materials and gotten similar results with sound waves, radio waves, light waves, etc….

  7. In the future, me buying one, take one scan on the crouch; Oh the blood vessels in the 'thing' is tiny, needs more blood vessels!

  8. lol who ever has tripophobia is scratching the shit out their heads . Lol I am . Hahahaha yucky !!! That vainy Hans was so YUCKY I WANT TO SCRATCH IT OUT ! OR DIG IT OUT !!!! YUCKY!!!!

  9. A device similiar to this was being developed for weapon use. And its used in New research to find things not seen by eye. Nasa research

  10. Just to throw a spitball, Bell was not the true inventor of the telephone, he stole the prototype from Meucci. The US Congress finally recognised that in June 2002.

  11. Wow, seems very promising! Reminded me of those Med-Bays' on that movie 'Elysium' (2013) where the system would scan and automatically identify the problems in the body! In the movie the device would go on and cure the decease, but I'm sure we'll get there someday. Hopefully it will be available for everyone and not only the ones 'up there'!

  12. this isn't new.. it's been used a long time ago to light up cancer cells.. and the scientist behind it got shunned at the time.. do the research there's nothing new about it.. it was suppressed for years..

  13. Physicists are still expanding the outer limits of what the hell is even feasible or imaginable. GG, physics and mathematics. GG.

  14. Maren's contributions to science education are so profound, I have to mentally prepare myself for them 😅. I add them to watch later, then after about three days I can finally embrace the glory within them! You're appreciated as much as they are ❤️

  15. So how does laser penetrate the outer skin without damaging the tissues, and remain enough energy to cause sound waves inside?

  16. I watched the video, but didn't understood anything, because the whole time I was actually watching her. That girl is SOO CUTE and her voice is hypnotizing
    Damn I need a girlfriend…

  17. That was really interesting.
    My bathroom scale uses "body impedance" measure lot's of "quantities" in my body. Things like water quantity, fat weigh, muscle weight, bone weight, etc. I'd like to know what the science is behind this technology and how accurate it is.

  18. Lol Rad Tech here. Everyone thinks theyre a medical professional/ scientist in the comments

    Leave it to the actual people in the field to speculate

  19. What I'm actually looking forward to is in several years when this gets miniaturized and can be put into a computer or cell phone to do a sub dermal image to replace pass codes, fingerprints, face scans, iris scans, etc.

  20. This is not a new technology. It's been around for almost 20 years. I used it 15 years ago to image contrast agents in rats. The only thing that's new is that now you're starting to see commercial products.

  21. They should implement this technology into a humanoid robot that we purchase through a company that must first go through a thorough experiment process required by Government agencies before being approved to the manufacturing stage. These humanoids will help us in our homes, and if anything were to ever go wrong the robot can use this tech to identify the cause of harm located in the body, and send a distress signal to a specialized dispatcher unit, they then will send that message along with its diagnosis to the Emergency Medical Services (EMS). This will increase the probability of you surviving because the paramedics will be able to know what your conditions are and will be better equipped and more prepared to handle the situation they are about to encounter.

  22. You are the most interesting women i ever seen in my life, and atractive too, do GYM fisical work this can mantain your musical voice energy for a lot of years more.

  23. Alexander Graham Bell didn't invent the telephone, he just had enough money to stole the idea and patent it as it was his.

  24. FDA trials and NIH research will be necessary for any clinical significance. We are two to five years from helping patients. Please support the research at our universities, hospitals and government laboratories so that this breakthrough can move forward. Contact your local congressional representative and your senators to support this type of research.

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