New Endoscopic Camera Is Disposable, Remarkably Tiny
Designed at Germany's Fraunhofer Institute for Reliability and Microintegration, the prototype's camera is just one cubic millimeter in size, and features a resolution of 62,500 pixels. But researchers say it's still strong enough to capture vivid images of a patient's internal organs, and transmit them via an electrical cable, rather than the optical cable that most endoscopic cameras use.
The engineers also found a way to combine the sensor and the lens in a more compact and cost-effective way. The method is so cheap, in fact, that if surgeons were to use the camera in a hospital setting, they could simply discard it after one operation, rather than sterilizing it for use on other patients.
Researchers say the prototype could offer benefits outside of the medical field, as well. Automotive designers, for example, could use it as an aerodynamic replacement for side mirrors, or they could install the camera inside a car, to monitor a driver's fatigue level. If all goes well, the device could hit the market as early as next year.