Better Care of Breathing Problems

Photo: Very young child

Better control in young children with
breathing problems; © SXC

This is a multidisciplinary research project which will involve clinicians and patients at the early stages of development, to ensure that the instrument meets end-user requirements.

Dr Lyndon Smith from University of the West of England’s (UWE) Machine Vision Lab is the principal investigator, working on developing a system that he says will revolutionise how breathing is monitored. He said: “Currently young children with breathing problems are usually monitored via a combination of bands strapped around the chest and abdomen that need to be attached to computers to enable doctors and nurses to measure breathing. The beauty of the new system is that it will record similar measurements as current equipment without the need to attach various instruments to the child.

“We will be using a method called dynamic photometric stereo. This involves combining a camera with specially positioned lighting to create structured illumination of the body surface. The resulting images will then be processed and analysed to enable the 3D shape of the human torso to be recovered. Real-time imaging created using structured light helps us to make the effect 4D, which enables us to detect and measure the movements of the chest and abdomen in real time.”

Co-investigator Professor Melvyn Smith commented that, “Our system will be eye-safe and will provide the higher resolution measurements needed to model the respiration process. Once the changes in size, shape and volume of the chest have been measured, it will be necessary to develop a model that will relate this to the flow and volume of respired air and respiratory muscle function. Other advantages include the most obvious one that measurements can be taken in a non-invasive way, without the need to attach instruments to the child that can cause stress.”; Source: University of the West of England