The U.S. National Institute of Health has devised an innovative hand-held machine that enables the rapid detection of brain-related injuries like haematoma - a medical condition that occurs when blood vessels are damaged and blood seeps into surrounding tissues, causing significant and dangerous swelling. It is critical therefore that medical authorities detect haematoma as quickly as possible.

It is believed that one of the more practical applications for the finished device could be focused on screening for these injuries before switching to more expensive CT and MRI techniques. The device, of which there is now a prototype, has been created by Jason D. Riley and his team.

The findings of the team were published in the Optical Society's (OSA) open-access journal, Biomedical Optics Express and center on the belief that near-infrared imaging will help in determining the urgency of patient transport and treatment.

According to the researchers, the device is based on the concept of using instrumental motion as a signal in near-infrared imaging rather than treating it as noise. The device depends on a simplified single-source model with a dual separation detector array that uses motion as a signal for detecting changes in blood volume in the hard, outermost membrane that envelops the brain and spinal cord.

Finally, the paper also suggests the use of the device in situations where authorities cannot resort to either CT or MRI imaging facilities, like warzones or accidents.