First medical image sensor to combine RGB and IR slashes size and power

September 29, 2020 // By Nick Flaherty
First medical image sensor to combine RGB and IR slashes size and power
The OH02A1S medical image sensor from OmniVision Technologies eliminates separate RGB and IR sensors in endoscope designs

OmniVision Technologies has launched the first medical image sensor to combine bot infrared and RGB light, cutting the size and power of endoscopes in half and opening up disposable system designs.

The OH02A1S simultaneous white-light RGB captures and infrared monochrome captures in a single CMOS sensor. Omnivision has already launched similar RGB/IR sensors for the automotive market. 

While endoscopic precancer and cancer detection procedures are performed using IR light, surgeons also need RGB light to confirm any abnormalities detected using infrared. Previously, this could only be accomplished by integrating two independent imager sensors, which resulted in endoscopes with a larger size, higher cost and higher power consumption, thereby excessively heating the tip of the endoscope.

The OH02A1S enables the designers of chip-on-tip endoscopes for cancer detection to eliminate a second image sensor, thereby overcoming the drawbacks of a two imager design. These improvements allow the development of small outer diameter (OD) endoscopes for cancer detection and diagnosis procedures such as indocyanine green (ICG), and fluorescence, chromo and virtual endoscopy.

“Until now, the need for two image sensors made the size and heat of endoscopes excessive for many areas of the body. Additionally, the added cost was too high for disposable scopes,” said Tehzeeb Gunja, director of medical marketing at OmniVision. “The OH02A1S significantly expands the number and reach of endoscopic procedures that can be performed, while reducing design complexity and making RGB-IR sensing affordable in disposable endoscopes for the first time.”

The medical image sensor allows both IR and RGB images to be captured using a single chip so a surgeon to switch between high quality RGB and IR in real time, or to display both images simultaneously on one (overlay) or two (side-by-side) monitors. Additionally, the smaller size and reduced heat allow the endoscope to reach much farther into the body than was previously possible with larger-OD, two-imager designs. Alternatively, designers can use the extra space to add more or larger illumination

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