Tiny New Endoscope for Looking Inside Blood Vessels
Cambridge Consultants, a UK firm, and OmniVision, based in California, have developed an impressive intravascular camera. It produces native images at 400 x 400 pixel resolution, considerably better than existing fiber-optic angioscopes, but engineers at Cambridge Consultants believe this can be boosted to 1,600 x 1,600 with its own software technique that “harnesses deep learning to enhance low resolution images without the blurring associated with traditional upscaling,” as the company describes it.
Unlike fiber-optic devices, in which the actual imaging component is positioned proximal to the operator, the new device has the sensor right at its tip. The part that would navigate through the vasculature is only 1.3 mm in diameter and it’s flexible enough to move through curvy anatomy.
The device can be combined with other intravascular imaging techniques, such as intravascular ultrasound and optical coherence tomography, giving cath lab surgeons an unprecedented view of what they’re working on.
The new device has not been tested on humans yet, but the underlying technology will certainly find its way into an actual product, as currently available options intravascular endoscopes are extremely limited.