The Leap system uses the latest Omnivision sub-millimeter 400 x 400 pixel image (0.16 megapixels) sensor, enabling surgeons to see parts of the anatomy that are currently inaccessible with today’s imaging techniques. With potential for even smaller cameras on the horizon, this highly miniaturized ‘chip-on-tip’ architecture is an order of magnitude improvement over standard fiber-optic angioscopes.
In the future, Leap technology could be combined with Cambridge Consultants’ ‘super-resolution’ image processing to increase the resolution further to 1600 x 1600 pixels (2.6 megapixels). This proprietary technique uses deep learning to enhance low-resolution images without the blurring associated with traditional upscaling and will ultimately provide visualization for the most challenging cardiovascular surgery.
The Leap early prototype is 1.35 mm in diameter, small and flexible enough for use in a procedure such as intracoronary angioscopy. Leap increases the information available to surgeons, enabling tissue classification or direct imaging of non-standard vascular occlusions.
Moving beyond the traditional endoscope, inspection with a Leap device could be paired with today’s leading technologies, such as IVUS (Intravascular Ultrasound) and OCT (Optical Coherence Tomography), enabling enhanced diagnostic techniques during surgery.
Existing endoscopes also carry an elevated risk of infection and device damage due to inadequate sterilization between procedures. Leap overcomes a number of these barriers, being an inexpensive, single-use endoscope and can be operated from a standard computer, not relying on the availability of large and expensive operating room infrastructure.
Due to the falling costs of chip-on-tip technology, the expense associated with traditional endoscope systems are set to significantly reduce. This is achieved with the introduction of an economical, reposable device, removing the need for sterilization and maintenance.
“We have combined our intravascular device experience with our knowledge of micro‑optics, systems engineering and AI, in conjunction with external manufacturing partners. The result is an economically viable, disposable camera system that is small enough to fit into the working channel of a typical vascular catheter,” said Simon Karger, Head of Surgical and Interventional Products at Cambridge Consultants.
“For the first time, Leap offers practical, direct visualization in the procedure room and a platform for integration of new configurations, sensor types and imaging modalities (such as spectroscopy). This can enable a new level of advanced imaging in intravascular procedures and an unparalleled surgical experience.”