Disposable salt grain-sized camera to revolutionize keyhole surgery

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I may be a tech fan, but the thought of squeezing a camera into my innards during surgery has never appealed to me. Or probably anyone for that matter. Keyhole surgery may be about to get less invasive however due to a newly developed endoscope camera.

Designed at the Fraunhofer Institute for Reliability and Microintegration in Germany, the camera is no larger than a grain of salt at just one cubic millimeter in size.

Traditional endoscopes can be costly to build due to the need for a lens, electrical contacts and thousands of sensors. The Fraunhofer system scales the construction back to only connecting contacts and sensors to one side of lens wafer however, reducing both size and manufacturing cost.This newly developed camera is in fact so cheap that it can be affordably thrown away after a single use, rather than having to undergo time-consuming sanitization procedures to make it fit again for multiple uses.

It won’t win any battles in the megapixel war (with a resolution of just 62,500 pixels – less than 1MP), but it should make life easier for doctors and patients alike when it is expected to go to market next year.

Gerald Lynch

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