Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Factory Operation and Automation IFF have developed the Dermascanner full-body dermatological scanner to help doctors diagnose skin conditions. When the exam starts, the surface of the patient’s skin is scanned from different positions and broken down into approximately 100 individual scans. Such image documentation already exists, but the actual size and changes in growth cannot be clearly discerned solely on the bases of scans.

The Dermascanner scans the surface of a patient’s skin from different positions and divides it into about 100 individual images. (©Dirk Mahler/Fraunhofer IFF)

Dermascanner generates additional scanned 3D data that are fused with the 2D scans, thus assigning a scale to every single pixel in the image. The researchers are integrating several 3D sensors in the scanner for this function. The sensors and cameras are calibrated so that their location in space is known precisely. The beams of light from the camera striking the mole can be assigned a precise 3D distance. Even when different scans have not been taken from the exact same distance, the doctor can apply the scale to determine the actual proportions precisely. The scanned data and scans are fed into analysis software, and analyzed and presorted by automatic classification. The software compares any existing earlier scans of development with current images.

Since minimal changes of an abnormal mole can be significant, the scanned and image data have to be comparable at any time, and among different equipment.