In addition to the field of security cameras, i-PRO's sensing technology has also been demonstrating its strength in the medical field. i-PRO's MV (Medical Vision) has contributed to the development of advanced medical care by developing and supplying camera modules to manufacturers of rigid endoscopes and operating microscopes. We will look back on our past achievements and reveal the three keywords that support the fundamentals of our business.
Customized for System Optimization, While Responding Flexibly to a Wide Variety of Requests
The camera modules for MV flexibly meet the requirements of medical equipment manufacturers or for on-site treatment, and are shipped to users after customization is complete.
For example, we can customize the camera to meet the customer's requirements by changing the spectral characteristics and optical path length, changing the product configuration such as housing and I/F board, and adding video processing functions.
One of the main features of i-PRO's three-disc cameras is the high-resolution technology based on "pixel shifting" of the three image pickup elements. The camera needs to be adjusted to the half-pixel shifted position with high precision and fixed by adhesion, requiring accuracy of less than 1μm, which is finer than that of red blood cells.
In rigid endoscope applications, the camera head is sterilized using high-temperature & high-pressure steam, and the temperature cycles caused by repeated sterilization usually shift the image sensor bonding position, resulting in a reduction in resolution. MV has achieved a high degree of heat-resistant reliability by conducting original research into adhesion methods to meet customer demands to prevent resolution degradation due to repeated sterilization.
In this way, MV understands the problems and demands of clinical practice and takes a flexible stance toward solving them.
Revolutionary Technologies That Generate “World-First” Products Stem from Ideas That "Boldly" Disregard Precedence
MV’s strength also lies in the kind of innovation that achieves “World Firsts.”
In 2016, we developed the world’s first 4K-compatible four-plate camera module. This is a technology by which a single camera simultaneously captures visible light (RGB) and infrared light (IR). Patented in Japan, the United States and Europe, it has also been highly regarded for its support for varied outputs, such as independent RGB/IR video and multi-screen outputs.
Subsequently, in 2018, we launched an angioscopic catheter equipped with an image sensor at the tip. Another world-first, it was created through collaborative research with Osaka University. MV’s technological capabilities have enabled us to adopt a bold approach to medical devices that can transcend conventional wisdom.
To pursue high image quality, high sensitivity and vivid color reproduction, as well as to realize attributes that the medical field demands—such as high functionality and ease of image adjustment—sometimes it’s necessary to adopt a bold approach that disregards precedence and common sense.
Sincerely Heeding Voices in the Medical Profession to Achieve Solutions That Go One Step Further
Through its innovative technologies, MV has brought a variety of solutions to the front lines of medical treatment. This stands as a testament to our sincere commitment to the realities in the medical field.
One medical technology that has recently become mainstream is intraoperative navigation using ICG fluorescence. This involves injecting a reagent called ICG (indocyanine green) into the patient's body, irradiating it with excitation light and capturing the fluorescence emitted with a camera to visualize cancer, blood flow and lymph nodes that are invisible to the naked eye in real time during surgery. This enables safer and more precise surgery than previously possible and reduces the burden on the patient.
From an early stage, i-PRO has been involved in the development of NIR (near-infrared) compatible cameras for use in this ICG fluorescence method. In the process, we interviewed medical practitioners and reviewed the challenges of conventionally used cameras, and strived to realize the required functions and systems.
After developing a camera that is compact in size, has high sensitivity, high color reproducibility and high frame rate, and can simultaneously image visible and NIR light without being affected by natural light or room lighting, i-PRO put the prism spectroscopy technology it has developed to date into practical use in 2017. The i-PRO camera is a four-plate NIR camera that utilizes the prism spectroscopy and bonding technologies that i-PRO has developed over the years.
The i-PRO camera has independent signal control for visible light and NIR images, allowing the sensitivity of the NIR light output to be adjusted without affecting the visible light output, and as a single camera can view visible light and NIR light with the same optical axis, it can also meet the demands of the medical field to superimpose NIR images on visible images for confirmation. The MV also meets the demands of the medical community to superimpose NIR images on visible images.
In this manner, MV is always heeding the voices of the medical community, while working to resolve problems in good faith. MV remains committed in its mission to protect the lives and health of patients.
"Flexible, Bold, Trusted" are the three keywords that i-PRO has adopted as its Personality. To continue contributing to the medical field, which is directly connected to life, the spirit of technology that forms the core of MV continues to meet challenges while keeping flexibility, boldness, and trustworthiness in mind.