Mention of some science stories I had a hand in recently:

Taking a bad picture of someone’s retina isn’t difficult, but taking a sharp one at cellular scale is more tricky. There are platforms using adaptive optics to take the distortions and inaccuracies out of the image, although the kit is so bulky that patients have to lie down and keep very still. Duke University has come up with a handheld portable system that could be used more comfortably on adults and restless children.

Also: using a pattern of light instead of a plain beam of illumination can get you a long way in bioimaging, especially when it comes to measuring oxygenation and hemoglobin levels in tissues. A California company called Modulated Imaging has just had FDA approval for a device using spatial frequency domain imaging, which is really just a way to try and cut out the effects of scattering and absorption, two things that biological tissues are often annoyingly good at.

And: improvements in virtual reality don’t only involve getting higher quality display screens to sit closer to the eyeball, but that is a big part of it. A German project has developed an OLED microdisplay that measures one inch across, with a pixel density of 2300 pixels per inch. Put a pair of them in front of each eye in a suitable helmet, and the wearer is looking at authentic WUXGA widescreen. Configure them correctly and that wearer might even not get a headache.


1 October 2018