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Method and apparatus to measure the depth of skin burns

United States Patent

April 30, 2002
View the Complete Patent at the US Patent & Trademark Office
Sandia National Laboratories - Visit the Intellectual Property Management and Licensing Website
A new device for measuring the depth of surface tissue burns based on the rate at which the skin temperature responds to a sudden differential temperature stimulus. This technique can be performed without physical contact with the burned tissue. In one implementation, time-dependent surface temperature data is taken from subsequent frames of a video signal from an infrared-sensitive video camera. When a thermal transient is created, e.g., by turning off a heat lamp directed at the skin surface, the following time-dependent surface temperature data can be used to determine the skin burn depth. Imaging and non-imaging versions of this device can be implemented, thereby enabling laboratory-quality skin burn depth imagers for hospitals as well as hand-held skin burn depth sensors the size of a small pocket flashlight for field use and triage.
Dickey; Fred M. (Albuquerque, NM), Holswade; Scott C. (Albuquerque, NM)
Sandia Corporation (Albuquerque, NM)
09/ 333,769
June 15, 1999
This invention was made with Government support under Contract DE-AC04-94DP85000 awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy. The Government has certain rights in the invention.