Pink Image Breast Thermography – Located in San Diego and Orange County – Southern California, Solana Beach, Irvine
Schedule an Appointment – Specializing in High Resolution Breast Thermography, Located in San Diego, Southern California, Orange County, Solana Beach, Irvine
About Pink Image Breast Thermography – Located in San Diego and Orange County – Southern California, Solana Beach, Irvine

Maurice Bales, Inventor of the First Digital Infrared Camera in 1979

As is true with virtually all other imaging modalities, the quality of the breast thermography process begins with the quality of the imaging equipment. The quality of thermographic cameras is based on two factors: resolution and sensitivity. Resolution is the amount of information that a camera is able to capture and is measure in optical lines. Sensitivity defines how accurate the camera is able to discern levels of thermal radiation (heat) and is measured in degrees C per level. It is desirable to have as high of a resolution and sensitivity as possible. Modern thermographic cameras have a resolution of 480 optical lines with some cameras as high as 600 optical lines (more is better). The sensitivity of these cameras is at least .05 degrees C per level with some achieving .025 degrees C per level (less is better).

The minimum requirement for certified breast thermography is a resolution of 240 optical lines and a sensitivity of .05 degrees C per level. Cameras with specifications inferior to these numbers may be used for imaging other areas of the body, but are not suitable to track the minute temperature variations required for breast thermography.

Infrared Camera History

  • Early 1970s FDA issues a 510(k) to Spectratherm, a subsiderary of General Electric.
  • Early 1970s Maurice Bales is hired by NASA Ames to develop surface science electronic equipment to develop materials for the space shuttle.
  • Maurice Bales receives award from NASA for development.
  • 1973 - GE places Spectratherm cameras into 29 clinics & hospitals nationwide as part of BCDDP (Breast Cancer Development and Demonstration Project.
  • 1979 - based of preliminary data, GE sells Spectratherm division.
  • 1979 - UTI purchased rights to Spectratherm camera for industrial usage – wirebonding semicondutors.
  • 1979 - Maurice Bales founds Bales Scientific. UTI hired Maurice to develop Mass Spectrometer, a device for analyzing elemental components in materials.
  • 1979 - Maurice re-develops Spectratherm camera for UTI, converting it from all analog to full digital with large upgrade in resolution, a 200 degree temperature range, and from 6 bit to 12 bit accuracy.
  • This camera is mainly used by UTI for detecting flaws in printed circuit boards (PCBs) for military.
  • Major problems with PCBs on Patriot missle – used 8 layer technology when 2 layer was standard at the time. The military uses Maurice's camera to analyze PCBs and fixes missle in a matter of hours. The military comments that while the cost of the camera is $80,000 (in 1979 dollars), they were able to recover those funds in 1 afternoon.
  • 1980 - Maurice develops Auger Analyzer, advanced digital technology to determine elemental components of samples from space shuttle tiles and other components.
  • 1982 - Culmination of BCDDP. It was determined that mammography was the superior breast imaging modality over thermography and ultrasound.
  • 1982 - FDA-approves breast thermography as an adjunct to mammography.
  • 1985 - Doctors begin contacting Maurice to see if he would build medical systems.
  • 1985 - UTI, not wanting to build medical devices, grants medical rights of camera to Maurice.
  • 1987 - Maurice attends first AAT meeting, meeting Jan Abernathy, MD (president), William Hobbins, MD, Jake Green, MD, and Harold Isard, MD.
  • 1990 - Maurice developes TIP Infared camera, again with 600 optical line resolution but faster frame rate and PC-based system.
  • 1990 - The TIP is sold for both industrial and medical applications.

  • WABT requires a resolution of at least 480 optical line for certified breast thermography. This allows for the most detailed infrared (heat) images of the breast. When imaging breast tissue for potential malignancies, it is important to utilize a high resolution, ultra sensitive infrared camera. Superior technology is a key factor in certified breast thermography.

                                                 Martin Bales, imaged by his father, Maurice Bales, president of Bales Scientific, Inc.
                                                                                                                circa 1983