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Title Real-time video in the neonatal intensive care nursery
Author(s) Armfield N, Donovan T, Wootton R.
Source Journal of Telemedicine and Telecare, Vol. 11, Pages 81-85
Publication Date 2005 (Suppl 2)
Abstract We have developed a prototype mobile camera to investigate the feasibility of transmitting a view of an infant through the wall of an intensive-care nursery incubator. The same device was also evaluated as a mechanism for transmitting neonatal X-ray images. The apparatus consists of a mobile stand carrying a pan/tilt/ zoom camera (SNC-RZ30P, Sony). The camera has wired and wireless Ethernet interfaces and is remotely controllable using a standard Web browser. The camera captures live video at 25 frames per second, has a 25 zoom lens and produces a 640480 pixel colour image. Experiments were carried out in intensive-care nursery conditions, with a variety of lighting levels, to view a dummy infant through the double perspex wall of an incubator and to capture an X-ray image of a neonate displayed on a lightbox. Wear and tear features evident to the naked eye on the dummy were used to test the optical zoom capabilities of the camera through the incubator wall. The apparatus successfully captured clear and stable images of the dummy infant. Key issues which affected image quality included the lighting level, positioning of the camera with regard to the incubator wall and the use of manual focus. Images of neonatal X-rays were also successfully captured and transmitted. The quality of transmission was sufficient to allow endotracheal tube position and the presence of air leaks to be assessed reliably without changing transmission parameters. The preliminary findings suggest that diagnostic information useful in improving neonatal outcomes can be transmitted using relatively simple and unobtrusive apparatus from remote sites of neonatal care.

Correspondence: Nigel Armfield, Centre for Online Health, Level 3, Foundation Building, Royal Children’s Hospital, Herston 4029, Australia (Fax: ž61 7 3346 4705; Email: N.R.Armfield@uq.edu.au)

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