Ultrasound tech firm MedaPhor Group has secured an Innovate UK grant to fund the development of a new augmented reality imaging device.

The AIM-listed company, which is headquartered in Cardiff, said the conditional grant of £464,000 was awarded as part of Innovate UK's Digital Health Technology Catalyst competition.

The money will part-fund the development of MedaPhor's NeedleGuide product, which the group believes has the potential to revolutionise interventional ultrasound-guided needling.

"We are delighted to have been awarded the Innovate UK grant, which will not only cover the majority of our development costs, but also provides strong external validation of our technology and market need," said chief technology officer Nicholas Sleep.

The NeedleGuide product, which is in the early stages of development, combines existing technology developed by MedaPhor, with expertise brought to the group through the recent acquisition of Intelligent Ultrasound Ltd.

The augmented reality headset projects the ultrasound view over the patient's anatomy, highlighting the pathway the needle needs to follow to the target and then automatically tracks the needle tip to ensure that the operator is always aware of the needle's position in relation to the key anatomical structures. 

This minimises the potential for user error and offers the opportunity for considerable savings to the hospital.

"NeedleGuide has enormous potential to improve patient outcomes, reducing the time and cost of these difficult procedures," Sleep added.

“We believe that this technology could reduce the cost of needling to all hospitals and have significant export potential as a new and world-leading digital health technology."