National Physical Laboratory

Thermal imaging metrology for healthcare

NPL has collaborated with a number of UK clinical centres to improve calibration and validation facilities for diagnostic thermometry.

The Challenge

In medicine, thermal imaging is used for: rheumatology, dermatology, drug therapy, diagnostics, monitoring and surgical applications. Body temperature measurements are expected to have an overall uncertainty of no more than ± 0.2 °C. However, with most thermal imaging systems having specified uncertainties of ± 2 °C, or ± 2 % (whichever is higher), achieving this required uncertainty at point of use is challenging.

The Solution

NPL has collaborated with a number of UK clinical centres to improve calibration and validation facilities for diagnostic thermometry. This has included developing:

  • a laboratory-based variable temperature standard (TIBB - thermal imaging blackbody)
  • a range of novel, robust and portable 'fixed-point' in-field of view validation blackbodies (TIVS - thermal imaging validation system)

The Impact

On completion of this work, a clinician involved remarked that "Such equipment should be adopted throughout the medical thermography community to provide a cost-effective means of thermal image validation across multiple centres."

The work has been in close collaboration with UK clinical centres (Royal Free Hospital, Ninewells Hospital (University of Dundee), University of Glamorgan) and instrumentation manufacturers (Isothermal Technology, Land Instruments).

TIBB - Thermal imaging blackbody, in use
 
TIVS - Thermal imaging validation system, in use
TIBB - Thermal imaging blackbody, in use
 
TIVS - Thermal imaging validation system, in use


Contact

For more information, please contact Rob Simpson

Last Updated: 12 Aug 2015
Created: 13 Feb 2012

Registration

Please note that the information will not be divulged to third parties, or used without your permission

Login