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UMass President’s Award Goes to Mil’shtein

Commercialization Grant Will Advance Technology

Intense, yet non-penetrating, the infrared light reveals interior structures.

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UMass President Jack Wilson recently announced four grants to accelerate the commercialization of technologies developed in UMass laboratories. The grants are awarded from the Technology Development Fund and managed by the Office of Commercial Ventures and Intellectual Property (CVIP).

Sam Mil’shtein, professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, has received a grant of $20,000 to advance his work on low-cost infra-red imaging. The system allows one to scan human limbs to visualize different tissues, tendons, muscles, ligaments, blood vessels, bones and cartilage. Some of these structures cannot be detected by conventional x-rays, and x-ray radiation poses more risk.

“Infrared is a weak light, with not very deep penetration ߝ unlike x-ray,” says Mil’shtein. “The assumption was always that you couldn’t see very deep with infrared.” However, early research has shown that coherent infrared light (emitted by lasers) creates an intense form of the light that can be used for imaging. Special algorithmic processing of images clearly distinguishes the various structures. A patent has been filed.

The UMass grant will support the advancement of image enhancement technology, to see if it can reach medical usefulness and be licensed. Mil’shtein has been collaborating with UMass Medical Center researchers to evaluate and refine the process.

Licensing of UMass intellectual property generated $28.5 million for the University in the 2005 fiscal year.