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v_view2.gif (2963 bytes) Vein Viewer

Technology Description: The Air Force Research Laboratory's Materials and Manufacturing Directorate (AFRL/ML) developed a vein locator with remarkable medical potential based on work in the near infrared. It developed specialized optical filter technology for military applications, and has applied that technology to develop a medical device that allows clinicians to "see" veins and arteries. This device enables the practitioner to visualize the veins and arteries of the body exclusive of other structures such as bones. The USAF has filed for patent protection on this device. The device has been demonstrated to doctors at the Wright Patterson Air Force Base (WPAFB) Medical Center and at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center (CHMC). The physicians easily saw strong possibilities for use of this device in pediatric medicine, emergency trauma assessment, surgery, radiology, detection of cancerous growths from angiogenesis, etc. The USAF intends to license the patent rights to this invention, and has asked Wright Technology Network (WTN) to help with the licensing process.

The device is based on the selective absorption of infrared radiation by deoxygenated hemoglobin. Through the use of an optical filter in conjunction with an infrared imaging device it is possible to clearly visualize venous structures. Additionally, the device permits the clinician to visualize the vascular structure of the body exclusive of bones and other dense structures. This basic device can also be used as a foundation on which to build a family of instruments capable of detecting various medical conditions.

Air Force Needs: One of the most attractive and beneficial areas in which dual use technology can be applied is the field of medical technology. This is one of the technologies that has been developed for defense applications that are directly applicable to the medical field. The Vein Viewer would also be very useful for providing medical treatment to soldiers in the battlefield at night.

Commercial Market Potential:  The potential worldwide hospital market for the Vein Viewer has been estimated at $1 billion. The basic assumptions were:

  • 6,467 hospitals in the United States,
  • 32,000 hospitals worldwide,
  • Depending on price the typical hospital would need two to five of these devices,
  • Sensitivity analysis included a $20,000 selling price.

WTN Commercialization Activities: WTN has been asked to assist the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) in finding a commercial partner capable of taking this exciting invention to the market. Demonstrations of this technology are available on request, while WTN is seeking an exclusive licensee. The signing of a Proprietary Information Agreement is a prerequisite to the demonstration. Contact WTN for further information.

The licensing of a USAF invention involves a series of steps which are somewhat different from commercial licensing. Those details are described in 37 Code of Federal Regulations 404. The basic process is for a company to make a proposal specifying how the company would go about getting this unit designed and into the market, what patent rights are wanted, what royalty arrangements are proposed, showing that the company is American owned, and that the product would be substantially manufactured in the United States, etc. These details will be covered fully if a company has an interest in pursuing an exclusive license for this invention. The USAF would retain a government use license for this technology.

If you have any questions about this Commercialization Project Story or are interested in getting more information about technology transfer and commercialization projects, please contact Jim Singer at Wright Technology Network (937) 253-0217 or CRADA@wtn.org.

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