Now, a disposable camera as small as grain of salt!

Endoscopes to date have some downsides, since they are expensive and, because of their multiple usages, have to be put through time-consuming and exhaustive cleaning procedures every time they are used.

Now, a team at Fraunhofer Institute for Reliability and Microintegration in Germany has developed together with Awaiba GmbH and with the support of Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Optics and Precision Engineering IOF the microcamera.

Martin Wilke, a scientist at the Fraunhofer Institute for Reliability and Microintegration, said, "We can produce microcameras so inexpensively with our technology that doctors can dispose of endoscopes after using them only once."

This is made possible by a new type of manufacturing process. In fact, the German scientists have developed a new way to access the electrical contacts. Now, the wiring process is faster and the entire camera system is smaller.

The trick lies in the fact that they do not reach the contacts of each individual image sensor via the side any more but rather, simultaneously, with all sensors via their reverse side while they are still connected as a wafer. That means that one no longer has to mount the individual lenses.

Instead, one can connect them with the image sensor wafers as lens wafers. Only then is the stack of wafers sawed apart into individual microcameras. Another upside is the fact it supplies razor-sharp pictures even with thin endoscopes.

The new microcamera is small enough for the tip of the endoscope. It has a resolution of 62,500 pixels and transmits the image information through the endoscope via an electrical cable, say the scientists.

Stephan Voltz, who is the CEO of Awaiba GmbH, said that "at 1.0 times 1.0 times 1.0 millimeters, this camera is as small as coarsely ground grain of salt -- the smallest camera that we are aware of."

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