Rheumatism is characterized by the flare up of inflammation in the joints. We have developed a device for monitoring inflammatory activity. Objective monitoring with the help of the HandScan can increase the patient’s quality of life and reduce treatment costs.
from algorithm to device.
A spinoff of Philips technology for patients with rheumatoid arthritis, a chronic inflammatory disease, consisted of a non-invasive imaging system. The system was able to visualize inflammatory activity in the hands. Initially the focus was on clinical research and the algorithm that translates measurement data into clinical information for the rheumatologist. Next, we applied our systems engineering expertise to produce a lightweight, compact and affordable device. Finally, we organized its serial production.
The initial lighting option was a matrix consisting of high-end LEDs. However, we developed an alternative using lasers and a rotating scanning mirror. This was found to be better suited for production and provided greater flexibility in designing the functionality. One design challenge lay in the interaction between the camera and the control/synchronization of the two lasers (for red and infrared measurements). The intuitive user interface and the industrial design were also given special attention to promote acceptance by rheumatologists.
“we first critically examine even very good ideas.”
When a very good idea is presented to us, we like to take a step back, even when the idea has already proven itself in clinical trials. First we critically examine what the essential functionality of the system has to be: does the original idea indeed lead to the best solution? This is how we came up with the concept of using a laser instead of LED lighting for the HandScan.