, a medical device startup focused on the integration of 3D ultrasound imagery and surgical procedures that it calls a “GPS for surgeons,” has won a $149,728 grant from the National Institutes of Health for further research of its technology.

The Phase I Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant is from the National Cancer Institute, which is part of NIH.

With the funding, InnerOptic plans to work with physicians at Carolinas Medical Center to develop “enhancements” for the company’s InVision System. In procedures, InVision will be used for needle guidance during cancer tumor ablation, a minimally invasive surgical technique.

Pre-operative data will be incorporated with InnerOptic’s real-time information to provide doctors with data that reflects motions and changes in the patient’s anatomy due to breathing, movement and “inevitable repositioning of soft-tissue organs during intervention,” InnerOptic said in a statement.

InVision is designed to help surgeons use ultrasound more easily during minimally invasive procedures. The company is developing a second device, called the Laparoscope, that provides real-time imagery of the area where minimally invasive surgery of the abdomen, or laparoscopic surgery, is being performed. InnerOptic is utilizing patented technology that will enable surgeons to “see” the procedure they are performing through a head-mounted display rather than having to watch a TV monitor.

The company is also developing cancer-detection capability.

“We look forward to working with the leading surgeons of CMC to develop and test the prototype system,” said InnerOptic Chief Executive Officer Brian Heaney of the new project.

InnerOptic is commercializing technology licensed from UNC-Chapel Hill. The company launched in 2003.