April 24 2014, updated 4:50pm

Lord of the Rings technology to help map wounds

Last updated 00:00 23/08/2007
MY PRECIOUS: Technology used to create Gollum in The Lord of the Rings is now being used to map serious wounds.

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Technology developed in Canterbury and used to bring The Lord of the Rings character Gollum to life is being employed in mapping serious wounds.

The SilhouetteMobile hand-held device uses lasers and state-of-the- art digital photography to create three-dimensional maps.

One of its first uses was with Weta Workshop, which scanned wax sculptures of animated characters for the Oscar-winning Lord of the Rings movies so they could be manipulated on computer.

The device, made by ARANZ Medical, is one of the finalists in the annual Health Innovation Awards, along with four other initiatives by the Canterbury District Health Board (CDHB).

ARANZ Medical chief executive Bruce Davey said the device was being used to map the changing nature of serious wounds.

It calculated the wound area and depth, and stored all information on its palm-sized computer, Davey said.

The device had just won Food and Drug Administration approval, which meant access to the potentially multimillion-dollar United States market, he said.

Nurse Maude trialled the device in its wound unit, which assesses at least 100 elderly people a week.

Nurse Maude clinical wound- care specialist Catherine Hammond said the device had been useful.

"It means we can keep track of wounds without touching or hurting patients. It also stores all the information so we can see if the wound is healing, which is very important as lots of elderly have wounds," she said.

Hammond said that before using the SilhouetteMobile, nurses had to trace around wounds on see- through paper and had no way of accurately measuring their depth.

The other Canterbury finalists for the awards are:

* The CDHB for its Improving the Patient Journey programme.

* The board's group circuit training sessions for patients at the Brain Injury Rehabilitation Service at Burwood Hospital.

* The board's Front Door Physiotherapy programme at Christchurch Hospital's Emergency Department.

* The board's programme to improve treatment of children with gastroenteritis and dehydration.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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