NIR-enabled vein viewing gains velocity

There's been a lot of work going on recently to develop commercial vein imaging systems.

Barbara G 720

There's been a lot of work going on recently to develop commercial vein imaging systems. Enabled by near-infrared (NIR) light, such systems allow painless, noninvasive viewing of the vasculature beneath the skin. BioOptics World first reported on NIR vein scanning for security purposes, saying it provides "improves authentication speed and false-rejection/acceptance rates" over other biometric approaches such as fingerprint and iris scanning. At least four companies were pursuing the idea at the time.

More recent efforts have focused on vein visualization to increase accuracy and speed—and decrease pain and angst—involved in vein procedures like blood draws, injections, and IV placement. The most recent we've reported is the Vein-Eye by Near Infrared Imaging, Inc. At SPIE Photonics West, vein viewing captured attention when AccuVein’s (Huntington, NY) AV400 Vein Viewing System won the 2014 Prism Award in the Life Science and Biophotonics category and Texas Instruments (TI; Dallas, TX) showed a handheld vein-viewing system.

In 2013, Evena Medical (Los Altos, CA) launched Eyes-On, a unit that nurses can wear like glasses. Earlier, Christie Medical Innovations (Memphis, TN) announced VeinViewer Vision.

While needles don't much bother me anymore, they sure used to. When I went to the hospital recently for a blood draw, I asked about use of this technology in the phlebotomy unit. The hospital didn't have it yet, the nurse said, except in the emergency department. I'm hoping that with all this new development activity, prices will decline enough to make vein viewing systems a staple—and a new generation won't have the same fear of needles that took me decades to outgrow.

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