3-D technology tracks changes in skin lesions 

The VECTRA Whole Body 360, the first of its kind outside of the United States, will revolutionise the way we map, monitor and diagnose skin conditions and skin cancer. 

Head Researcher Professor H. Peter Soyer
Team Members
  • Associate Professor Tarl Prow
  • Associate Professor Helmut Schaider
  • Associate Professor Rick Sturm
  • Katie Lee
Body Part Skin
Equipment Used Invented, developed, published and patented technology: Vectra network architecture 
Process Used  
Research Areas Imaging, dermatology, melanoma
Disease Cancer
Tags Minimally invasive diagnostics
Commercial Partnerships Canfield Scientific
Institutions The University of Queensland, Dermatology Research Centre.
Dermatology Department, Princess Alexandra Hospital, Metro South Health.


About the Project

The fight against skin cancer has been taken to another level by The University of Queensland’s Professor Soyer with the installation of Australia’s first three dimensional (3-D) Avatar system – a revolutionary skin cancer-detecting system, at the Translational Research Institute’s Clinical Research Facility.

The VECTRA WB360 produces a detailed 3-D image of a patient which replicates the skin surface in complete detail. It’s of particular use in high-risk patients, as the machine is so detailed that it can pick up changes in a patient’s skin between check-ups.

Every year in Australia, skin cancers account for around 80 per cent of all newly diagnosed cancers.  Living in Queensland, we are used to living our lives in the sun, but with this outdoor lifestyle comes risks of developing serious conditions like skin cancer, so skin checks are a vital part of yearly check-ups for all Queenslanders.

How the VECTRA works

A patient stands within a scaffold surrounded by 46 cameras, each of which takes an image at the same time. A computer program then stitches the images together to produce a 3-D model that replicates the skin surface in complete detail.

The main function of this complete body photography system is tracking changes in skin lesions, which are a tell-tale sign of a developing melanoma.

The system quickly makes a record of the patient's whole skin surface that can be referred to during follow-up visits to identify changing moles.

It can also be used to measure body dimensions and track changes in these over time as well.

Translational Research - Milestone T3

A study, led by The University of Queensland’s Prof Soyer, is underway at TRI’s Clinical Research Facility based at the Princess Alexandra Hospital.  Acquisition of the Vectra prototype, developed by Canfield Scientific, was funded by the PAH Private Practice Trust Fund. 

This technology lends itself to the possibility of diagnosing and monitoring patients in public hospitals in regional Queensland, particularly in North Queensland where skin cancer is a major problem.  Vectra acquisition sites could be established in places like Cairns, Townsville, Mt Isa and Rockhampton.  The images obtained could be uploaded to a database and examined by dermatologists at workstations with the image viewing software installed.

As well as having significant benefits for improving screening outcomes of patients with a high risk for skin cancer, the technology will also facilitate advances in our world class skin cancer research.  More acquisition sites, patients and images means significantly more invaluable research data for numerous research projects including the analysis of phenotypic  and genotypic risk factors for skin cancer, and the validation and refinement of emerging automated image analysis platforms for skin cancer detection.

> For further information on participating in Professor Soyer’s clinical research, contact Katie Lee | +61 7 3443 7482 | [email protected]

> For further information on opportunities for investment in the 3D Avatar technology, contact Lisa Bidwell, Research Partnerships Manager, Faculty of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, The University of Queensland | +61 7 3443 7021 | [email protected]

> For further information on donating to this research, contact Thea Kleiber, Director of Advancement, Faculty of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, The University of Queensland | + 61 7 3346 5309 | [email protected]

Mr Glen Wimberley and Professor H. Peter Soyer using the VECTRA Whole Body 360

> UQ Article - 3D Avatar revolutionises skin cancer diagnosis