Some of the amazing creature comforts that we now take for granted came from NASA and the great race into space: memory foam mattresses, copy machines, radial tires, and of course “space pens” are just some of the technologies we now enjoy (click here for a complete list: it’s a fascinating read!).
In the realm of medical technology, the technology used to create ultra-sensitive sensors for mapping the surface of the Earth may soon be used to detect skin cancers on the body. Xenics, an infrared sensor tech company, developed a super-powerful sensor for the Proba-V Satellite, which is used to monitor and detect changes in vegetation…from space.
The sensor on the Proba-V is a super-powerful 3072-pixel line sensor. This sensor, if directed towards a patient’s skin, may help dermatologists scan your skin for cancerous cells before you even notice a weird-looking mole.
The sensor is vastly more powerful than your average smartphone’s sensor, but with a little consumer demand for medical iDevices, Moore’s Law could definitely see these types of sensors coming to the consumer market sooner rather than later. Researchers have already configured Samsung smartphone sensors to detect gamma radiation with surprising accuracy.
By contrast today’s early detection technologies seem borne right out of the mid-20th century. The Dermascope involves a magnifying scope (typically about 10X magnification), and staining the skin with India ink to prevent natural reflections from the skin. Imagine what a satellite sensor that detects minute changes in vegetation FROM OUTER SPACE could do if placed right next to your skin!