A laser pointer (top right) illuminates a microfluidic flow phantom (bottom center) and the speckle pattern is imaged onto a webcam (top center) to enable calculation of flow images. (Credit: Andrew Dunn, University of Texas – Austin)
The webcam setup (right) is just about as effective as the more expensive CCD camera setup (left) at showing the reduction in blood flow following a stroke. The green circle shows the stroke’s affected area. (Credit: Andrew Dunn, University of Texas – Austin)
A speckle contrast image (right) of the stroke-affected section of mouse brain averaged over 10 frames, with an image depicting the vascular anatomy (left) for comparison. (Credit: Andrew Dunn, University of Texas – Austin)
Blood flow is routinely measured in the clinic, and laser speckle contrast imaging is one way of measuring these changes; however, this technique requires professional-grade imaging equipment, which limits its use. Now, using $90 worth of off-the-shelf commercial parts including a webcam and a laser pointer, researchers have duplicated the performance of expensive, scientific-grade LSCI instruments at a fraction of the cost.