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Proceedings of the 22nd World Congress of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine : 203, 2003.8.

Promising Applications of Multispectral Imaging in Laboratory Medicine

Tokyo Medical and Dental Univ., Japan

published edition

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INTRODUCTION: Multispectral imaging, which can capture, record and reproduce spectral reflectance of objects, is a new and hot imaging technology in color engineering field. Through research collaboration between engineering and medicine, the following two models have been emerged as promising approaches. First, 'Spectral Color Pictures' - a digital image that has spectral reflectance at each pixel. Second, 'Absolute Color Pictures' - a digital image that has very precise color reproduction, which is independent of both devices and illumination.
If spectral reflectance of skin or mucus is recorded, variety of new morphological diagnostic methods beyond human sensation will be developed. A specific range of a wavelength can be flexibly enhanced to make some latent medical findings visible. Without special equipment, a common digital camera that has three color channels will be used for estimating spectral reflectance of skin, with which the amount of major skin pigments, namely melanin, hemoglobin and oxyhemoglobin, will be estimated.
Although even a multiband display will have differences in color appearance caused by differences in the color matching function among individuals, there will still be a method of calibration. Furthermore, this story will be applied for a display that gives color-blind people the same color appearance as others.
Without special equipment, absolute color pictures of skin will be taken with a common digital camera as mentioned before. Thanks to the characteristics of three kinds of human cone cells, its color appearances will be reproduced with a common RGB display.
Spectral color pictures will require large investment and will bring very advanced effects on patients of limited diseases. Absolute color pictures will bring practical and general effects in medicine at relatively small costs.

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