OmniVision’s OV6948 image sensor is smaller than a grain of pepper. The tiny camera is ideal for procedures that involve small parts of the body. (Image credit: OmniVision)


OmniVision, a developer of advanced digital imaging solutions, has earned a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records. The company announced that they now hold the record for the smallest commercially available image sensor. The OV6948 image sensor, which is smaller than a grain of pepper, measures only half a millimeter squared. The tiny device has not only broken a world record, but it will have a significant impact on medical imaging in general.


The device is made to be used for medical applications. Typically, procedures that take place in the body’s smallest anatomy, like cardiac and neuro procedures, are performed blind or with low-quality images from fiberscopes since most cameras are too big and reusable endoscopes are too expensive. But OmniVision’s sensor used with its 0.65mm x 0.65 mm camera module aims to solve these issues.


According to the company, the camera module can be attached to disposable endoscopes to snap high-resolution images of the tiny parts of the body via blood vessels, like nerves, eye parts, the spine, inside joints, and even the heart. The new camera is also supposed to be more sanitary. Reusing endoscopes led to cross-contamination issues. The new camera can be used with new disposable endoscopes eliminating the need to reuse such devices.


The camera comes with an array of features, including a 120-degree field of vision along with a focus range of three to 30 mm. The sensor has an image array that allows for 200 x 200 resolution and can process video at 30 fps. The camera is also equipped with an analog feature that sends image data to a distance of four meters. The camera will also be noticeably cooler than traditional probes, allowing for longer periods of use inside of patients—it uses only 25 mW of power.


Aaron Chiangg, OmniVision’s marketing director, says the device "offers a compact, high-quality solution for disposable guidewires, catheters and endoscopes, which are experiencing growing demand because of their ability to reduce cross-contamination risks, downtime inefficiencies and costs associated with the repairs, preprocedural testing and sterilization of reusable endoscopes."


While the company has its eyes set on the medical industry, they hope to expand the range of potential users for the device, including veterinarians and dental practitioners. As it is, the OV6948 is pretty impressive and is bound to make a big difference in the medical field. The device is currently available for volume production.


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