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Patent highlights

28 Apr 2004

The pick of this week’s patent applications including a wearable imaging device and a new design of lidar.

•  Title: A wearable imaging device
Applicant: Hewlett-Packard, US
International application number: WO 2004/034699
People may soon be walking around wearing their own personal imaging device if an invention from Hewlett Packard (HP) becomes a commercial product. The US high tech specialist is patenting an imaging device that uses a light source, such as a laser, and a beam scanning assembly to project an image onto a surface such as the user’s hand. HP says that the imaging device can communicate with external computing devices and allows the user to interact with the image.

•  Title: Systems and methods for minimally-invasive optical-acoustic imaging
Applicant: Vascular Technologies, US
International application number: WO 2004/032746
Imaging inside veins may be helped by an invention from Vascular Technologies of Minnesota, US. In patent application WO 2004/032746 the firm describes an imaging guidewire which is small enough to fit inside an intravascular catheter and contains an optical fiber. To generate an image, a fiber Bragg grating (FBG) at the distal end of the fiber directs light to a photoacoustic transducer that generates ultrasonic imaging energy. A returned ultrasound signal is detected by an FBG sensor and optically communicated to the other end of the fibre where a 2D or 3D image is generated.

•  Title: Bistatic laser radar apparatus
Applicant: QinetiQ Ltd, UK
International application number: WO 2004/034084
QinetiQ is patenting a LIDAR design that has separate transmit and receive channels. The device is arranged so that the foci of the transmit and receive beams fall on a common axis during operation. Potential applications include vibrometry, wind speed measurements.

Oliver Graydon is editor of Optics.org and Opto & Laser Europe magazine.

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