The technology can precisely locate an endoscope’s position through 20cm of human tissue and can detect individual photons.
A new camera that can see through the human body has “immense potential” in medical procedures, say researchers.
It is designed to track endoscopes – an instrument put into the body to examine things like the digestive system or respiratory tract.
The camera can detect the illuminated tip of the endoscope tube through 20cm (8in) of tissue, according to early tests.
Until now, tracking the equipment has not been possible without X-rays or other expensive methods.
With current methods it can also be very difficult to find out exactly where the endoscope is because the light beams scatter or bounce off tissues and organs.
But the new camera can give a precise location because it can detect individual photons and measure the time it takes for light to pass through the body.
The camera can also be used by the patient’s bedside.
Professor Kev Dhaliwal, from the University of Edinburgh, said the technology has “immense potential” in the medical field.
“The ability to see a device’s location is crucial for many applications in healthcare, as we move forwards with minimally invasive approaches to treating disease.”
The University of Edinburgh has worked with city’s Heriot-Watt University on the project, which is looking at developing new technologies for diagnosing and treating lung diseases.