Building a Prototype, Low-Cost Electrical Impedance Tomography System

Lead: Dr Paul Shearing (UCL Chemical Engineering)

Main collaborator: Professor David Holder (UCL Medical Physics & Bioengineering)

Project: Electrical Impedance Tomography (EIT) is emerging a real alternative to more costly CT and MRI scanning to provide three-dimensional scans of a patient, which can be used for diagnostic purposes. While the resolution EIT is not close to either CT or MRI, it is crucially inexpensive and portable and provides sufficient resolution to act as a useful diagnostic tool for stroke victims. EIT has the potential to replace these techniques for stoke haemorrhage diagnosis and can be applied quickly and routinely saving crucial time compared to CT scans, which will often have long waiting times.

To date EIT equipment has utilised expensive precious metal electrodes, or complex mechatronic devices. While these devices are still much cheaper than conventional brain scanning MRI or CT they are none the less too costly to include as standard issue ambulance/paramedic equipment.

We aim to prototype an EIT device built from low-cost, metal loaded conducting polymers which will be sufficiently inexpensive to carry on board ambulances – this will enable rapid tomography of a stroke victim en route to hospital. This will save crucial time. In addition this low-cost tomography tool may find application in developing economies where tomography tools are not commonplace.

Page last modified on 10 jan 12 16:01