The Future of Cameras in Medicine

Minimally invasive interventions are standard in many medical fields – from knee arthroscopies to colonoscopies. They require using ultra-modern, tiny cameras that provide insights into the body. Feinwerkoptik Zünd is an expert in developing and producing these cameras, especially their lenses. CEO René Zünd tells us how the use of cameras in medicine could develop in the future with even more advanced technology. So how small can cameras become?  

There is no simple answer to this question. Currently, cameras with a diameter of 0.8mm are used in medicine. However, the critical factor for the size is not the lens but the mechanics, such as the sensor. René Zünd estimates that lenses of up to 0.5mm are possible with his current production method. He sees several applications for such microscopic cameras: "For example, there is still potential in neurosurgery or ENT surgery. Currently, cochlear implants are positioned almost blindly because no suitable endoscopes are available for the required surgical technique," says René Zünd. More miniature endoscopes could change this. Surgical robotics with cameras also seems to open new possibilities for tumour removal: This could significantly simplify views into the bronchi, brain, urethra, and kidneys. The corresponding devices' potential applications and developments are evaluated in advance in cooperation with medical experts.

The future will be 3D

In addition to the size of the cameras, their viewing angles can change too. 3D images during surgery are becoming more frequent and better. "I expect the biggest revolutions in the third dimension, in various fluorescence applications as well as in image processing and image reproduction," says René Zünd. Solutions already exist in spinal surgery to shape spinal stabilizers during surgery and in alignment with a 3D model of the spine.

Two cameras must be placed next to each other to obtain this additional angle of view. Special software and a screen are then used to transmit the necessary information to the surgeon. Feinwerkoptik Zünd is technically capable of producing the optical components for the 3D cameras and providing support in developing the 3D cameras. The collaboration with start-ups in surgical robotics is seen as a strong possibility.

Partner from the idea to serial production

In addition to these developments in the field of 3D and most miniature endoscopes, René Zünd foresees another change: the so-called "chip-in-tip" technology. Here, both the mechanics and the lens are attached to the (distal) end of the endoscope. This replaces the previous rod lenses and creates more flexibility and higher-quality images. Regardless of the project and complexity, Feinwerkoptik Zünd is there for our customers from the idea to the final production.

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About our customers and partners

Our optical components are particular, individualized parts that always belong to a larger product. For example, we develop and produce a lens for an endoscope, which is installed in an assembly. But how does that cooperation work?

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Endoscopes make it possible to look inside the body without performing major invasive procedures. But how does an endoscope work? René Zünd explains which optical components are necessary and what task they fulfil.

Over 20 years of experience

Gut gelaunt und professionell sind drei unserer langjährigsten Mitarbeiterinnen täglich bei Feinwerkoptik Zünd anzutreffen. Sofia Santos und Filippina Prestagiacomo sind seit 27 Jahren bei uns dabei, Sanela seit 24 Jahren.