New Device Reveals Hidden Blood Vessels

VeinViewer uses near infrared light to reveal the network of blood vessels just beneath the skin. (Image credit: Luminetx)

NEW YORK—A new device that projects the position of veins directly onto a patient's skin is helping take the guesswork out of medical pricks and injections.

VeinViewer shines harmless near-infrared light onto a patient's skin. The light photons are absorbed by red blood cells inside vessels but bounced back by surrounding tissue.

The reflected photons are captured by a digital video camera and a computer creates a digital image of the vasculature, which is then projected back onto the patient's skin. The hidden veins appear on the skin as colorless lines that crisscross a rectangular patch of neon green [photo].

The technology works regardless of a patient's age, body type or skin color, VeinViewer's creators say, and it is accurate to about a quarter of an inch.

Made by Luminetx Corporation, VeinViewer is being tested in hospitals across the country and was demonstrated here last week at Wired Magazine's NextFest new-technology forum.