'Mantis shrimp-inspired' camera to detect cancer

Scientists have developed a new camera which can detect cancer and monitor the activity of exposed nerve cells.

ANI| Last Updated: Sep 29, 2014, 11:06 AM IST

London: Scientists have developed a new camera which can detect cancer and monitor the activity of exposed nerve cells.

According to scientists of University of Queensland in Australia, the blueprint is inspired by the biology and anatomy of the eyes of a mantis shrimp that uses light polarisation to detect and discriminate between objects.

Using miniscule polarizer's instead of the usual color filter arrays, these sophisticated digital cameras that can visualize brain activity see the polarisation of light rather than the color, making it possible for it to see previously unnoticeable things such as cancer tissue.

Professor Justin Marshall, of the University's Queensland Brain Institute, said that cancerous tissue reflects polarized light differently to healthy tissue and it is this difference that the mantis shrimp can identify.

The project is carried out in collaboration with scientists in the US and the UK, and has been funded by The Australian Research Council, US Air force Office of Scientific Research and the Asian Office of Aerospace Research and Development.

Marshall said this camera will shoot videos and provide immediate feedback on cancer detection. He says that we have sun-glasses that commonly use the light polarizing technology and this has long existed in the eyes of a mantis Shrimp.

This research could also be useful if adopted, in redesigning of Smartphone cameras that would allow people to inspect themselves for cancer and lighten the load for health systems like the NHS and it also is hoped that the camera will reduce the need for invasive health procedures like biopsies.