Software Offers Panoramic Views for Endoscopy
ERLANGEN, Germany — Software that fuses together endoscope images could offer a fuller internal view of organs to better diagnose cancer and other ailments.
The program — Endorama — developed by researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits, has been used to create a panoramic image of a bladder by stitching together individual stills. Gaps signify areas of the bladder wall that have not been examined, allowing the doctor the chance to go back in and fill in the blanks.
An endoscope can only capture a very small section of the bladder wall at a time, said senior scientist Dr. Thomas Wittenberg. This makes it difficult for doctors to determine if they have successfully investigated all areas of the organ.
Endorama software provides a panoramic perspective made from images of the bladder’s inside wall that were taken endoscopically. Courtesy of the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits.
To create the panorama, the endoscope camera captures about 25 frames per second that overlap each other. Endorama searches for distinctive features in the individual images, and based on these structures, compiles them into a complete picture.
The software corrects optical distortions and balances out the shadows that arise due to nonhomogeneous lighting. Various computer processes assemble the images: while one process searches for designated image features, such as vascular structures on the bladder wall, another fits the images together in an organized manner. In doing so, these processes also take into account the complex geometry of the bladder.
In addition, the Fraunhofer scientists assembled video sequences, which were obtained from standard bladder examinations, into panoramas.
Endorama could be available to physicians within the next few years, according to Wittenberg. He noted that it could also be modified for use with other parts of the body, such as sinus or abdominal cavities, the intestines and the larynx.
For more information, visit www.iis.fraunhofer.de.
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