Typically when I talk about tiny cameras, it’s in regards to surveillance. This little spy is even more invasive, however. The newest camera from BC Tech is only 3 mm in diameter, and thank goodness, because it’s going inside your body. Called the Video Scout, the tiny camera comes with four LED lights for interior illumination, a choice of lenses capable of 100° to 140° field of view, and a depth of field from 1mm to infinity. Not a bad piece of optical hardware, but it’s incomplete. Intentionally so. The Video Scout is meant to be integrated into other endoscopic devices. So what we have here is really just part of larger, undefined machine. But that’s really cool. By focusing on just one portion of a medical tool, the camera, BC Tech has managed to shrink it down to about one fifth of the size (or less) of typical endoscope cameras. Video Scout is even smaller than many camera pills (often around 10mm or more). According to BC Tech, the Scout is even cheap enough for single use equipment. If other companies similarly specialized in specific areas of medical technology we could see great advancements in endoscopy, microsurgery, and robotic medicine.
Catherine Mohr promised us that the future of surgery would be robotic, and now companies like BC Tech are delivering on that promise. No, the Video Scout isn’t a robot camera (check out the spider pill if you want to see one of those) but it could enable robotic surgical equipment very easily. BC Tech offers customized integration partnerships for the Video Scout so that it can be used in some other device. Of course, there’s no guarantee that will happen, and I don’t want to over hype the importance this particular camera as it’s just one necessary component of a much larger (and as yet undefined) system. Still, I’m excited by companies taking a “divide and conquer” approach to advancing technology. Specializing in one aspect of a problem and making your work play well with others is a great strategy.
[photo credit: BC Tech]