Disposable endoscopes incorporate microcameras

Researchers at Fraunhofer Institute for Reliability and Microintegration have developed a microcamera that may lead to disposable endoscopes for minimally invasive operations. The camera is 1 × 1 × 1 mm, supplies high-resolution images, and is very inexpensive to manufacture.

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Researchers at Fraunhofer Institute for Reliability and Microintegration (IZM; Berlin, Germany) have developed a microcamera that may lead to disposableendoscopes for minimally invasive operations. The camera is 1 × 1 × 1 mm, supplies high-resolution images, and is very inexpensive to manufacture. Fraunhofer IZM developed the microcamera with Awaiba (Madeira, Portugal) and the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Optics and Precision Engineering (Jena, Germany).

Currently, endoscopes are expensive and must undergo extensive cleaning procedures every time they are used. Martin Wilke, a scientist at Fraunhofer IZM, says that the manufacturing costs for the new microcamera are only a few euros because of a new process that connects the image sensors and lens on the wafer. Previously, the lens was at the tip of the endoscope and the sensor at the other end of the optical fiber. The complete microcamera is now small enough for the tip of the endoscope.

The automotive industry is also researching the possibility using such microcameras to replace outside rearview mirrors on cars. This would reduce flow resistance and energy consumption. In addition, if installed inside a car, the microcamera could image eye movements and alert the driver if they were nodding off.

Fraunhofer IZM

Posted by Vision Systems Design

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