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Next-Generation Stereo Endoscopes are Opening Surgeons' Eyes

BioPhotonics
Jun 2016
Technological advances are paving the way for single-channel stereo endoscopes that are ideal for minimally invasive neurosurgery. New stereo endoscopes also promise to deliver IR fluorescence resolution and 4K resolution.

JAMES SCHLETT, EDITOR, james.schlett@photonics.com

In its drive to explore outer space, NASA is developing optical technology that tests the limits of the laws of physics and promises to turn neurosurgeons into pioneers in innerspace. While minimally invasive neurosurgery is far from being the final frontier in medical science, many neurosurgeons who perform this delicate procedure have been handicapped by technology when exploring the inner realms of the human head. In the course of attempting to locate and remove a tumor via a 15-mm incision — rather than through a partial skull removal — these surgeons have mostly seen a world that was flat. Behind these 2D imaging limitations are single-lens endoscopes. Usually, two lenses are needed to afford surgeons the stereoscopic vision that provides depth perception. And while there are plenty of stereo endoscopes on the market, the need for two lenses made many of the devices too bulky for minimally invasive neurosurgery. However, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, Calif., in collaboration with the Skull Base Institute in Los Angeles, has found a way to achieve stereoscopic imaging with a miniature single lens endoscope. Its name: the Multi-Angle Rear Viewing Endoscopic Tool (MARVEL), and it highlights just one of the areas — size — in which manufacturers are pushing the limits for the next generation of endoscopes. Other areas include IR fluorescence resolution and 4K resolution. MARVEL JPL’s next generation 3D HD stereoscope has a diameter of 4 mm and a rotating tip that provides panoramic views spanning 120°. MARVEL is based on a single lens, dual aperture system. The device allows light to alternately penetrate each aperture at a rate of 30 frames per second. Three-dimensional imaging is then achieved through the overlapping of images in accordance to a time-multiplex scheme, according to Skull Base Institute Director Dr. Hrayr Shahinian.

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BiophotonicscamerasimagingAmericasendoscopystereosisstereoscopicstereo endoscope3D endoscope4KHDneurosurgeryIR fluorescence imagingVisionsenseIntuitive SurgicalOlympusSonyMulti-Angle Rear Viewing Endoscopic ToolMARVELJames SchlettENDOEYE FLEX 3DFeatures

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