Since 2009 fNIR Devices LLC has been the premier supplier of Continuous Wave Functional Near Infrared (fNIR) Spectroscopy imaging systems for research and other non-clinical applications.
About fNIR Technology
Continuous Wave fNIR imaging offers the researchers with a portable functional near-infrared (fNIR) imaging research tool capable of monitoring brain’s hemodynamics and thereby the cognitive state of the subject in natural environments. fNIR technology employs specific wavelengths in an optical frequency window which can easily pass through a few centimeters for most tissue, and allow monitoring blood oxygenation changes but monitoring back-scattered light intensity. The relative changes of light intesity across time is due to changes in oxy- and deoxy-hemoglobin and provides information about neural activity.
Comparison of fNIR with other Neuroimaging Modalities
Conventional Neuroimaging Techniques
- Techniques such as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and positron emission tomography (PET) have been widely used for functional brain studies in humans.
- These techniques are expensive, highly sensitive to motion artifacts, confine the participants to restricted positions, and may expose individuals to potentially harmful materials (PET) or loud noises (fMRI).
- These characteristics make these imaging modalities unsuitable for many uses, including the monitoring of ongoing cognitive activity under routine working conditions.
fNIR Neuroimaging Solution for Natural Environments
- fNIR is the only stand-alone and field-deployable technology able to determine localized brain activity.
- fNIR can be readily integrated with other physiological and neurobehavioral measures that assess human brain activity, including eye tracking, pupil reflex, respiration and electrodermal activity. fNIR can also complement other techniques.
- Studies have shown a positive correlation between a participant’s performance and fNIR responses as a function of task load.
- It has also been shown that fNIR can effectively monitor attention and working memory in real-life situations.
Who we are
Although administratively, fNIR Devices operates from its offices in Potomac, MD, all of technical development work and manufacturing are conducted in Southeastern PA.
Since 1996, Chance developed and tested several Continuous Wave (CW) imaging devices for the prefrontal cortex (PFC) and muscle (Chance et al. Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 1997 Jun 29;352(1354):707-16.). His company called NIM (Near Infrared Monitoring) operated between 1996 and 2009 and sold approximately 20 devices named LED imager (half for brain imaging and half for muscle oxygenation monitoring). In the meanwhile Researchers of the School of Biomedical Engineering of the Drexel University started to collaborate with Chance since 1999. A wearable optical system for adult PFC fNIR measurements was developed in 2004. In August of 2009 fNIR Devices, LLC (Potomac, MD, USA), using the technologies licensed from Prof. Chance and the Drexel University, started shipping a 16-channel for adult PFC fNIR measurements (Model 1100). In 2011, a 4-channel wireless system for adults (Model 1100W) as well as a pediatric 2-channel probe were introduced. Within the first 18 months of operations fNIR devices has provided over 60 systems for various kinds of research mainly in USA. Additionally the Drexel team has been developing clinical application areas including depth of anesthesia monitoring, Brain Computer interface and Traumatic Brain Injury rehabilitation monitoring. In addition to the clinical development, the Drexel team has also translated the fNIR technology to human-performance applications such as UAV ground operators and air traffic controllers’ mental workload assessment.