Optical tissue imaging has several advantages over the routine clinical imaging methods, including non-invasiveness (it does not change the structure of tissues), remote operation (it avoids infections) and the ability to quantify the tissue condition by means of specific image parameters. Dermatologists and other skin experts need compact (preferably pocket-size), self-sustaining and easy-to-use imaging devices. The operational principles and designs of ten portable in-vivo skin imaging prototypes developed at the Biophotonics Laboratory of Institute of Atomic Physics and Spectroscopy, University of Latvia during the recent five years are presented in this paper. Four groups of imaging devices are considered. Multi-spectral imagers offer possibilities for distant mapping of specific skin parameters, thus facilitating better diagnostics of skin malformations. Autofluorescence intensity and photobleaching rate imagers show a promising potential for skin tumor identification and margin delineation. Photoplethysmography video-imagers ensure remote detection of cutaneous blood pulsations and can provide real-time information on cardiovascular parameters and anesthesia efficiency. Multimodal skin imagers perform several of the abovementioned functions by taking a number of spectral and video images with the same image sensor. Design details of the developed prototypes and results of clinical tests illustrating their functionality are presented and discussed.
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