InnerVue Diagnostic Scope
The Hubble Space Telescope is well known for its awe-inspiring images of the universe. But many people don't know that the technology used to process photos of distant galaxies is helping doctors peer inside the joints of the human body.
Image right: This image of the cartilage in a human knee was taken using the Innervue Diagnostic Scope. Credit: Arthrotek, Inc.
Surgeons have used arthroscopy to diagnose joint problems for years. Until recently, though, the tools they used left the patients' tissues sore and inflamed. In the late 1990s, Micro Medical, Inc. and NASA Glenn teamed up to develop a smaller scope that would provide clear images in real time without damaging the joint tissue.
Using their expertise in image processing, NASA engineers developed an algorithm for the arthroscopic system that sharpened the images and improved the color and illumination.
Today, Arthrotek, Inc. is marketing the InnerVue Diagnostic Scope System to doctors for diagnosing knee and shoulder problems. Using this device, doctors can provide immediate diagnoses with only one needle poke, allowing their patients to go home right after the procedures.