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ams Osram shrinks camera module for disposable bronchoscopes

03 Aug 2021

Millimeter-sized tip also said to be suitable for urology and kidney endoscopy procedures.

ams Osram, the company combining the sensor and optics expertise of its two parent firms, is to ramp production of a tiny camera suitable for disposable endoscopy - including bronchoscopes that are in demand as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The “NanEyeM” module, measuring just 1mm x 1mm x 2.7mm, is based on what the company describes as its “chip on tip” approach.

“Here, the image sensor and the optics are placed at the tip of the device (the distal end),” explains the firm. “This results in significantly better image quality than when the camera module is located at the other, proximal end.”

Wafer-level optics
This second iteration of the camera module represents an update on the original “NanEye2D” device, which was the same size but whose sensor offered a lower image resolution.

“The NanEyeM offers a fully integrated imaging module, which delivers high-quality images thanks to its wafer-level, multi-element optics,” added the company. “It was specifically designed for optimal performance at close-range distances.”

According to ams Osram the multi-element lens combines a wide field of view with an extended depth of field, thus reducing distortions and delivering a sharp and accurate image.

“Thanks to its space-saving size, the NanEyeM is made for use in areas of severe size restrictions, which includes single-use applications in bronchoscopy, urological endoscopy or endoscopic procedures in the kidney,” said the firm’s marketing manager, Dina Aguiar.

“The combination with the requisite high image quality makes the camera module a unique and attractive solution for the fast-growing disposable endoscope market.”

That market appears to have been boosted in recent months as a direct result of the coronavirus pandemic.

“In endoscopic procedures, such as bronchoscopy, the transition from reusable to disposable bronchoscopes has recently accelerated,” stated the firm. “The Covid-19 pandemic has triggered increased demand for disposable bronchoscopes.”

ams Osram added that the devices were of particular significance for assessing critically ill patients, with the camera’s tiny dimensions enabling it to access tiny structures within the lung.

49 fps frame rate
Other benefits of the updated module include a high signal-to-noise ratio, meaning that the camera can transmit images over long lengths of cable without loss of signal integrity or an increase in noise.

The NanEyeM also offers a frame rate of up to 49 fps, while the high-sensitivity image sensor means that less illumination is required and heat generation at the tip of the device is minimized.

• Announcing its latest financial results last week, ams Osram posted revenues of €1.49 billion for the second quarter of 2021 - the first in which Austria-based ams has had full operational control of the historic lighting firm.

While, like others, the company has been impacted by the global shortage of electronic components, it is also benefiting from strong demand across consumer and automotive markets.

CEO Alexander Everke said: “Short-term revenue drivers continue to be automotive lighting and consumer optical sensing in areas like display management and camera enhancement.

“At the same time, we are moving on integrated product roadmaps that will drive our position in mid-term growth markets including UV-C LED[s], advanced LED front lighting systems, augmented reality (AR), 3D applications, and more.”

The company adds that it is working to develop new light sensing products, including for world-facing AR and 3D authentication applications. Other priorities include camera enhancement and display management, and near-to-eye visualization and sensing for AR.

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