The diagnostic imaging technology developed by Balter is based on the concept that normal skin, benign lesions and malignant lesions each have different optical properties, and thus will respond differently when illuminated by light at selected characteristic wavelengths (or colors). During a scan with the Balter imaging system, a potential lesion is illuminated by light at 10 different wavelengths from each of three angles. Multiple images of the lesion are generated and analyzed by predictive algorithms to provide diagnostic information. Balter’s proprietary algorithm, originally developed for use in NASA-funded projects aimed at surveillance of the “health” of the world’s oceans from satellite images, has been extensively modified and adapted for the analysis of skin tissue images.
In operation, a small, handheld probe is positioned over a suspicious lesion for several seconds during which time the lesion is illuminated by light at multiple wavelengths and imaged from each of three angles. Ultraviolet light (350 nm) penetrates only superficially, while near infrared (1,000 nm) penetrates several millimeters into the skin; thus the use of multiple wavelengths of incident light allows the Balter scanner to image diffuse reflections from different layers of the tissue.
A principal proprietary innovation of the Balter technology is the powerful algorithm that permits the determination of both physiological and morphological tissue parameters. These parameters include:
• tumor diameter
• blood content distribution
• blood oxygen saturation
• border characteristics
• keratin and melanin content and distribution
• color and lesion thickness
• melanosome size distribution
Balter’s first-generation scanner was developed in 2004 and since then five successive instrument generations have been produced.
The current prototypes are hand held tethered to a computer. Balter is in the process of developing a pocket size device that will permit clinicians to easily include the OTD analysis of suspicious lesions in their professional practice.
Balter's 2nd generation device. Balter's 3rd generation device.