Nasa Tech Briefs

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3D Ultrasonic Neuronavigation System for Image-Guided Brain Surgery

Ajay Mahajan

Southern Illinois University Carbondale

Murphysboro, IL

This GPS-like system could help surgeons navigate through the brain to find and remove everything from tumors to bullet fragments easily, cheaply, and with hardly any cutting. The ultrasonic-based locational system was designed with neurosurgeon Sumeer Lal.

ImageThe neuronavigation system, adapted from one developed some years ago to track robots, eliminates cameras and replaces them with a head restraint from which ultrasonic sensors branch off like tree limbs. It also adds sensors to the surgeon’s probe. The two sensors on the probe act as transmitters while those on the head restraint serve as receivers, allowing the equipment to map the probe’s movement through the brain in three dimensions.

Because the receivers that replace the cameras take up much less space, sightline problems don’t occur. And because they remain in place — not on the patient’s head, but close by — recalibration in a sterile environment is easier. The new system has sub-millimeter accuracy, which should make the system more attractive to neurosurgeons. Hospitals can pay as much as $500,000 to $750,000 for standard image-guided neurosurgery equipment. The cost of the new system would be significantly less — perhaps $50,000 to $75,000.

The system also has other applications. Caterpillar Inc. has inquired about using the system to improve its ergonomics program, which examines how operators of the heavy equipment it manufactures move about in the driver’s seat.

For more information, visit www.siu.edu/~perspect/05_sp/ neuronavigation.html or contact the inventor at: 618-453-7007; email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Honorable Mentions

Multi-Stroke Auto-Disable Syringe

P. R. Suresh Samuel

Chennai, India

ImageMore than 80% of therapeutic drugs need reconstitution and a single-stroke auto-disable syringe (ADS) will not work unless two syringes are used. This increases plastic waste by 100%.

There are no metal parts in the Multi-Stroke ADS, and all of the plastics can be recycled. Only one syringe is needed for reconstitution application. Instead of the disabling mechanism triggering when the piston is drawn backward, this design triggers the disable mechanism when the piston moves forward. The triggering mechanism also will work regardless of the dosage.

To operate the syringe, the user twists and removes a protection tab and draws the required drug dosage into the syringe. When the user intends to inject the drug, the riding clip moves forward on the notch in the piston head. Simultaneously, the riding clip opens from the clip seat into the recess on the piston head. This de-links the connectivity from the piston rod. The drug is delivered and the syringe is rendered useless.

For more information, contact the inventor at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome Monitor

Hari Singhal

IIT Guwahati

Guwahati, India

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is the major cause of death of infants below 18 months of age across the globe. Apnea is identified as the major cause of SIDS. Existing apnea monitors are complex and expensive. Unlike its contemporaries, this apnea monitor differentiates between Central Sleep Apnea (CSA) and Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) solely by the information from respiration movement signals. Amplitude and phase relations of the abdominal and thoracic excursion signals are used for separate detection of CSA and OSA.

In the case of CSA, respiration movements cease or have low amplitudes, which are detected by the monitor. During upper airway obstructions (OSA), the respiration movements try to overwhelm the blockage, and hence, abdominal and thoracic movement signals are out of phase. The two movement signals are separately monitored and OSA is reported when they go out of phase.

Unlike its contemporaries, the monitor uses simple production technologies and is expected to cost as little as $2.00. The equipment holds promise for the developing world, where lowcost solutions are needed for hospitals and nursing homes.

Safety & Security Category Winner, "Create the Future" 2007 Design Contest

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