Advanced Imaging


Advanced Imaging Magazine

Updated: July 8th, 2008 05:26 PM CDT

Endoscopes Push Imaging Boundaries

Dating Back Centuries, Endoscopy Takes Advantage of Today's Cutting Edge Technologies
Researchers at Duke University's Pratt School of Engineering are using 3D ultrasound transducers to image beating dog hearts (Copyright Duke University's Pratt School of Engineering).
Massachusetts General Hospital's spectrally-encoded endoscopy (SEE) technology is only the about the width of a human hair and promises to open new horizons in endoscopy (Copyright Massachusetts General Hospital's Wellman Center for Photomedicine).
Tiny form-fit factor and low-power dissipation are at the core of Micron's CMOS endoscope-sensor technology (Copyright Micron Technology, Inc.).
Scientists at Penn State, Lockheed-Martin Corporation and Stanford University have jointly devised a solution for detailed three-dimensional CT-based procedure mapping and follow-on image-guided bronchoscopy that draws upon computer graphics and machine vision techniques (Copyright Penn State University)

By Lee J. Nelson
Contributing Editor

While initial resolution is on par with existing small-diameter instruments, future optimization of the optics by Tearney and his colleagues is expected to return images with ten times the number of pixels provided by today's commercial miniature endoscopes.

Minute On-Chip Sensor

In addition to its visual accuracy, the MT9V021 imager from Micron Technology, Inc. (Meridian, Idaho and Glasgow, UK) tackles endoscopic design challenges with a tiny form-fit factor and low-power dissipation. The MT9V021 incorporates sophisticated camera functions on-chip and features Digital Clarity, Micron's ability to achieve near-CCD image quality while maintaining the intrinsic advantages of CMOS technology.

A strong signal-to-noise ratio, low-light sensitivity and wide dynamic range endow the MT9V021 with high-resolution and excellent color fidelity output. Those attributes engender the caliber of detailed medical imagery-obtained using minimally invasive methods-which doctors need to locate and diagnose abnormalities.

The MT9V021 includes an LVDS (low-voltage differential swing) serial interface and reduces from thirteen to two the number of wires typically required for frame start, line start, end-of-line pulses and data out. In default mode, the device delivers a VGA-sized image (649489-pixels) with 10 bits per pixel at 30 fps. With a minimal number of parts, the MT9V021 image sensor's diagonal dimension is less than 7.5 millimeters and installs into the probe tip of major manufacturers' endoscopes.

Micron's approach to technology advancement can facilitate disposable instruments, helping to eliminate cross-contamination, offering improved clinical capabilities and paving the way for procedures which are potentially more patient-friendly.

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