Starry eye

Technology developed in Scotland to capture clear images of stars is being adapted to detect disease in the human eye.

Scientists based at the UK Astronomy Technology Centre (ATC) at the Royal Observatory in Edinburgh are collaborating with the medical profession to explore the potential for development of their research.

The new collaborative use for telescope technology will be highlighted at the fourth Convergent Technologies Showcase & Conference, to be held at Stirling University Management Centre on 13 May.

A key area of ATC research is in the field of adaptive optics, which the Edinburgh scientists are developing for use in the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT).

They are also engaged in making one of the cameras, which uses the technology for the James Webb Space Telescope, which is being built collaboratively by the European Space Agency and NASA.

Adaptive optics sees through atmospheric turbulence around stars to give clear images.

This technology has been adapted to investigate and detect disease in the eye’s retina, in some cases before symptoms are experienced.

Entitled ‘Visualising the Future Together’ the focus of this year’s Convergent Technologies conference is to encourage collaborative projects in the field of medical imaging that will deliver improved healthcare treatment and services.

It will attempt to build on Scotland‘s reputation in the field of collaborative medical imaging projects, most notably the work of Prof Ian Donald, who adapted technology used in Clydeside shipbuilding to develop ultra-sound imaging, now used globally by obstetricians in the care of expectant mothers and their unborn babies.