Today we make Spectra, the world’s first open source biomedical imaging system, available to everyone!
Imagine what kind of impact something like the Raspberry Pi ecosystem would have on medical imaging - if only medical imaging was cheap, small, portable, and open! It’s an area ripe for technological improvement and has a huge potential for positive impact. This is what inspired me to create Spectra, an easy path for more people to move medical imaging forward.
Spectra is a hand-held medical imaging system that uses AC currents to reconstruct an image of any conductive material that you put in its tank. It uses the same algorithms as CATSCAN machines to reconstruct an image using only AC current. This technique is called electrical impedance tomography (EIT), which has until now been limited to research labs. Spectra is a small, portable, open source, and inexpensive imaging machine that we hope will help EIT break out of the lab and get into the hands of hackers everywhere.
Wouldn’t it be amazing if more people innovated in this area? Medical imaging doesn’t have to be limited to multimillion dollar CATSCANs and MRIs sequestered away in hospitals. We should all have this technology at our fingertips. If more people had access to play with and improve this technology, we’d all have better access to health.
Since Spectra uses very low current levels, it’s safe to use and experiment with. At the same time, Spectra is fully featured with 32 configurable electrodes, Bluetooth, UART, battery charging circuitry for portability and noise isolation, and easy-to-use software that includes three different commonly used image reconstruction algorithms.
Left: First MRI scan (lungs). Right: A modern MRI scan (head).
Left: Early EIT scan (lungs). Right: What's next?
We’d love your help making medical imaging cheaper and more accessible to everyone - so please grab your Spectra quick and help us on our path toward production!
Over the next few weeks we’ll be detailing what you can do with Spectra, showing lung volume analysis, impedance cardiography, gestural recognition, and more. Stay tuned for future updates!