FRAMOS Develops Miniature CMOS Sensors for Endoscopy and Medical Technology
For medical endoscope manufacturers, three criteria are particularly important when selecting the right image sensors: Minimal size with high resolution, long-term availability and an optimal price to performance ratio. The technological change from CCD to CMOS sensors also offers huge opportunities in medical diagnostics, however, there are no standard sensors for endoscopes. Mostly, customized sensors with a production quantity under 50.000 pieces are not rentable in production due to high on-off-costs.
The imaging experts at FRAMOS are now closing that gap. As a technical consultant and development partner for many years, FRAMOS will launch its own image sensors, especially designed for the needs of the medical industry and endoscopy at the MEDICA 2016. Axel Krepil, Head of the Sensor Department, explains the motivation: “Based on developments in the mobile device market, CMOS technology now offers a clearly superior image quality than CCD in the low-light range relevant for diagnostics. Smaller sensors and thus, endoscope sizes, can be implemented at a very cost-effective price now. As a sensor expert, we can offer such a cost-effective standard product which is qualified for medical use and which offers medical device companies security with respect to development, certification and distribution due to its long-term availability.”
Small CMOS pixels allow fast Full-HD images for improved real-time diagnostics
The 2MP model FRA0261 with CMOS-BSI technology and with a chip scale packaging (CSP) of 4.1mm x 3.9mm, allows for endoscopes or camera modules with dimensions below 6mm and, at this size, are particularly suited for colonoscopes, mobile and reusable endoscopes used for colonoscopies. A pixel size of 1.4 µm x 1.4 µm, Full-HD resolution and a frame rate of 60 frames per second increase the image quality for the treating physician and improves real-time capabilities. In comparison to CCD technology, the small-size CMOS sensors are available for approximately half the current market price. In addition, FRAMOS offers the sensors as a “die” version with which endoscope manufacturers can install the sensor for a better angle of sight based on optical requirements, in any position, for instance vertical or tilted. With the powerful 2- or 4-lane MIPI interface, only a few cable connections are required between the sensor and the control unit.
The FRA0100 model (in development) with 1MP resolution and a 3mm x 3mm CSP is particularly light and suitable for round small-size endoscopes used in cardiovascular surgeries. The 1000 x 1000 pixel resolution is achieved due to the small pixel size of 1.75µm x 1.75µm.
“With both sensors, we cover the need, with respect to reusable sensors which are required in smaller quantities and therefore fall below the radar of the large manufacturers or which would incur costs in individual developments. FRAMOS thus offers a quality adapted to the needs of the medical technology field and a long-term, stable supply at a reasonable price.” says Krepil.
Disposable sensors prevent cross-contamination
Furthermore, FRAMOS works on a disposable sensor which delivers high resolution images for a single-digit dollar amount. FRAMOS implements the “small, high-performance sensors at a cost-effective price” principle in every sense with its development know-how and purchasing competence. The miniaturization of the embedded imaging systems is supported by transmitting the data via thin wire pairs via serial LVDS interfaces, light diodes ensure good lighting at low power consumption levels and make it easier for the treating physician to control the endoscope. According to branch studies, the single-use or disposable market in particular is growing. The decisive advantage is in the elimination of so-called cross-contamination, ergo, the transmission of infections between two patients due to insufficiently cleaned endoscopic devices.
Many years of experience in sensors and medical
“Framos in-house competence is based on 35 years of sensor experience and more than 12 years of development and application experience in medical projects. Furthermore, our expertise flows into our own technologies and systems for the medical field. Since all components are available long-term and can be purchased reliably, we are able to cover the needs of the medical device industry from sensor to system,” says Krepil.
Diagnostic endoscopy is one of the most important areas of use for imaging in the medical technology field. Endoscopes are an essential tool for examining patients’ internal organs. Whether ENT, stomach or intestine, image sensors and cameras detect more than the human eye can see and provide more precise, faster and more valid results by means of objective medical data analysis.
“Teaching machines to see” is what drives us. For FRAMOS, image processing is not just a technical discipline, but a fascination, the future and our mission all at the same time. Since 1981 FRAMOS is a leading technology provider in industrial, scientific and medical image processing. Headquartered in Munich and with 4 subsidiaries worldwide we enable manufacturers, system integrators and researchers to benefit from imaging technologies. Our team of approximately 85 associates offers a fully comprehensive portfolio of imaging components, technical consulting and support. Thanks to many years of experience in the industry, we offer engineering services for custom camera development as well as complete turn-key-solutions. We are proud of our participation in a revolutionary technology. The spirit of innovation and development of our early days has remained at the heart of our company.