Thursday, June 25, 2009

Pulse alumni magazine is online

The lastest issue of the Jacobs School alumni magazine, Pulse, is online. The main thrust of this issue: Engineering in Medicine.

There is so much happening in this space at the Jacobs School, and what's nice is that so much of it is coming together through UC San Diego's Institute of Engineering in Medicine (IEM).

One of the many stories in this issue is about Powerful New "Eyes" for Surgeons.

Surgeons at UC San Diego Medical Center are pioneering non-invasive surgical procedures that eliminate the need to open a patient’s abdominal wall—innovations that speed recovery time and significantly reduce pain for abdominal surgeries, such as gall bladder removal. Instead of cutting through the abdominal wall, surgeons deliver the camera, lights and surgical instruments by way of the natural openings in the patient’s body—the mouth, vagina or rectum. The surgery is called NOTES or Natural Orifice Translumenal Endoscopic Surgery.

The UC San Diego surgeons want a better camera for NOTES, and for that they turned to engineers from the Jacobs School and Calit2.The team just completed the first prototype, called SurgiCam. The new camera boasts auto-focus and optical zoom—a big improvement over the digital zoom in today’s surgical cameras. Optical zoom will give surgeons the ability to change the field of view and obtain some peripheral vision, explains electrical engineering professor Yuhwa Lo. Lo invented the fluid-filled lens that is at the heart of SurgiCam—a lens that incorporates elements of both fish eyes and eagle eyes. The camera also doubles as a microscope, which could improve surgeons’ ability to remove cancer tissue.

photo caption (above): The SurgiCam team includes students from across UC San Diego including (left to right) Jack Tzeng and Frank Tsai, electrical and computer engineering (ECE) grad students, Calit2 engineer Daniel Johnson, ECE grad student Sung Hwan Cho, and Cameron Francis, a medical student.

Learn more about the SurgiCam project here.

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