Thermal imaging technology has developed considerably since it first became available for non-military applications in 1958.
Today, it is widely used in the medical field to enable researchers to study a number of diseases where skin temperature can reflect the presence of inflammation in underlying tissues, or where blood flow is increased or decreased due to a clinical abnormality.
Now, European researchers Professor Francis Ring from Glamorgan University (Glamorgan, UK) and Professor Kurt Ammer from the Institute for Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (Vienna, Austria) have written a comprehensive article describing how such thermal imaging systems are currently being put to use in the medical field.
In their review of the current state of the art, the academics explain how thermal imaging techniques can enable clinicians to investigate a number of medical conditions including arthritis, muscle spasm and injury, fibromyalgia and peripheral circulation as well as screen for fever and malignant diseases.
Their review -- which was published by the UK-based Institute of Physics -- can be found on the web here.
Related articles on thermal imaging that you might also find of interest.
1. Thermal imaging software detects drunks
Greek researchers have developed software to analyze images from thermal imaging cameras to objectively determine whether a person has consumed an excessive amount of alcohol.
2. Thermal imaging detects wildlife in fields
Researchers led by PhD student Kim A. Steen at Aarhus University have developed a tractor-mounted system that uses thermal imaging and digital image processing to automatically detect animals during the mowing of a field of grass.
3. Thermal imaging used to measure body fat
Scientists at Nottingham University (Nottingham, UK) are using thermal imaging to determine the amount of brown adipose tissue in the human body.
4. Thermal imaging cameras monitor health of cows
A Swedish company has developed a system for automatically monitoring the health of dairy cows using thermal imaging cameras from FLIR (Portland, OR, USA).
5. Thermal imaging measures muscle soreness
Scientists from Loma Linda and Asuza Pacific Universities have employed thermal imaging to help in quantifying muscle soreness.
-- Dave Wilson, Senior Editor, Vision Systems Design