X-ray Glasses Are for Real

Evena Eyes-On Glasses (Evena Medical)
Evena Eyes-On Glasses (Evena Medical)

Readers of a certain age remember comic book ads for mail-order glasses that would let you see through people’s (read: girls’) clothing. They were, of course, a pure rip-off, but their real world counterpart is about to hit the market.

Evena Medical and Epson have developed Eyes-On glasses that can see through your skin to locate blood vessels. The glasses actually illuminate tissue with infrared light. The light penetrates the skin to a depth up up to 10 mm and is selectively reflected back by deoxygenated hemoglobin, the sort that is in the red blood cells flowing through your veins. The goal is to make it much easier for doctors or nurses to find veins to draw blood or insert an intravenous line.

The subcutaneous veins are imaged–the imaging system is Epson’s contribution–in a the Eyes-On head-up display, allowing precise location of a vein without the usual (and for me, often unsuccessful) effort to get it to “pop.” And because it is actually venous blood that is being imaged, Eyes-On will also spot any leakage at the injection site, allowing for quick corrective action.

The Evena Eyes-On glasses are a bit more expensive than the comic book specs that went for a buck back in the 1950s. Around $10,000, in fact. But they work, and are actually something of a bargain since they will replace a much less mobile and more inconvenient cart-mounted version that cost twice as much.

The glasses are scheduled to go into full production in April, with general availability later in the spring.

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Steve Wildstrom

Steve Wildstrom is veteran technology reporter, writer, and analyst based in the Washington, D.C. area. He created and wrote BusinessWeek’s Technology & You column for 15 years. Since leaving BusinessWeek in the fall of 2009, he has written his own blog, Wildstrom on Tech and has contributed to corporate blogs, including those of Cisco and AMD and also consults for major technology companies.

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