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3D hand scanner to monitor rheumatoid arthritis

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A 3D custom hand scanner has been developed for a major medical research centre to monitor the progression of rheumatoid arthritis. The scanner developed by ThreeRivers 3D, a 3D imaging solutions company based near Pittsburgh US, can track volume changes and joint inflammation in arthritic hands over a period of time.

Rheumatoid Arthritis is an autoimmune disease that attacks many tissues and organs, but principally affects synovial joints (hands, feet, knees and elbows) causing chronic inflammation as well as deformation. The system consists of Prosilica GC1290C cameras from Allied Vision Technologies (AVT) and a thermal camera, which are mounted at the top of a frame, looking down at the palm rest where the patient will place their hand. Two laser scanners and internal Prosilica GC1290s are set up on the side of the structure at a 45 degree angle.

Each scanner projects a series of 50 different patterns that will help capture image data to create a 3D image of the patient's hand. Each 3D rendition is captured in less than five seconds to ensure optimal quality and minimise issues such as blurring due to patient movement.

Once captured the 50 images are post-processed by the system's computer to create a 3D rendition of the patient's hand based on a sophisticated analysis of the shape of patterns and pattern variations captured.

The Prosilica GC1290 and GC1290C by AVT are compact 1.3 Megapixel cameras, which output uncompressed real-time images over a Gigabit Ethernet interface. It features the Sony ICX445 ExView HAD CCD sensor for high sensitivity and excellent image quality. ThreeRivers 3D selected the Prosilica GC1290 series for its compact size allowing flexible mounting orientations, its high dynamic range and spectral response facilitating the use of eye-safe lasers for the capture of 3D images in ambient room lighting, as well as advanced triggering options for synchronised scan data capturing.

The software was developed using AVT's PvAPI Software Development Kit. Thanks to its extensive Dynamic-link Library (DLL), the AVT PvAPI SDK can be developed directly into the application, which means that the system scanners can be deployed 'driverless' simplifying both the initial installation and long-term maintenance of client software. In addition the AVT PvAPI SDK is available for a wide variety of operating systems such as Windows, OS X, QNX and Linux. This allowed ThreeRivers 3D to use a common code repository to deploy scanners on all major operating systems.

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