Researchers Working on Vein Detecting Glasses

Going to the doctor or a hospital is never really that fun of an experience. You go there knowing you’re about to spend a butt load of money, and have to fill out a bunch of paper work. That’s not all that bad, but when they tell you that you are due for some shots … oh boy. That’s when you know things are really about to go downhill.

98% of the time you get a good nurse who gets the needle in and out like some sort of secret agent. The other 2% of the time the nurse is going to butcher your arm and have your veins looking like swiss cheese. Accidents happen, but it’s hard to forgive someone after they bruise up most of your arm. Repeated needle pricks are something we have all dealt with, but hopefully we will have to deal with them less in the future.


Researchers at the University Teknologi Petronas (UTP), Malaysia, are developing a pair of glasses that will allow nurses to see patients’ veins in real-time. This is done by overlaying a map of the patient’s veins on top of their skin.

The current prototype uses an integrated camera and a light source that is built into a head mounted display. This head mounted display is used to capture an image of the patient’s skin that is illuminated by infrared light. The image is then processed in real time, the veins are detected and then the veins are projected onto the prototype’s display. The veins that are seen on the display are mapped and overlaid onto the patient’s skin.

One thing makes the vein detecting glasses super effective is that the glasses use multiple wavelengths and can select the best wavelength for the patient’s skin. This allows the glasses to see through any skin tone.

“We have tested our prototype on four different skin tones: fair, light brown, dark brown and dark,” the team’s Aamir Shahzad told Gizmag. “With optimized illumination we are able to get better contrast for each skin type.”

The prototype can detect veins up to a depth of 5 mm, but the company creating the glasses is going to try and extend that range to 25mm. Supposedly, the glasses, once fully developed, could also detect tumors in skin at an early stage.

“We can detect skin cancer and other kind of issues,” reports lead researcher Dr Naufal M Saad.

Besides detecting veins and early stages of skin cancer, researchers also have some other ideas on how these glasses can be used. The researches say that these glasses could eventually be used to analyze people during big emergencies, when the hospital is packed, to see if they have internal bleeding. Not only that, but they eventually think the data from these glasses can be fed to a central unit so the information can be reviewed by more than one doctor. Having a central unit would also allow them to alert nurses of emergencies such as internal bleeding, spreading infections, and everything else in real-time.

The “Smart Vein Locator” is estimated to be released in the market in about a year. The smart glasses are most likely going to roll out into a small set of clinics around the country first, before we see it in bigger medical locations.

The expected cost of the final product is hopefully going to be around $2000 or less, which is beyond affordable when it comes to medical devices. The prototype is pretty expensive right now ($6000), but if they can get the price down to $2000, then they can pretty much guarantee the device is going to be everywhere.

Definitely a cool device, and I can’t wait till its finished. I don’t really like needles, and I definitely don’t like it when a nurse butchers my arm. The less pokes and bruises, the better!

What are your thoughts on this device? Are you looking forward to it beingfinished? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section down below!

Source: GizMag