Are you ready for a camera injection? It’s tiny!

German engineers have created a camera no bigger than a grain of salt, that could change the future of health imaging – and clandestine surveillance.

Using 3D printing, researchers from the University of Stuttgart built a three-lens camera, and fitted it on to the end of an optical fibre the width of two hairs.

Such technology could be used as a minimally intrusive endoscope for exploring inside the human body, the engineers reported in the journal Nature Photonics.

It could also be deployed in almost invisible security monitors, or mini-robots with “autonomous vision”.

Three-dimensional printing – also known as additive manufacturing – makes 3D objects by depositing layer after layer of materials such as plastic, metal or ceramic.

Owing to manufacturing limitations, lenses cannot currently be made small enough for key uses in the medical field, said the team, which believes its 3D printing method may represent “a paradigm shift”.

It took only a few hours to design, manufacture and test the tiny eye, which yielded “high optical performances and tremendous compactness”, the researchers reported.

The compound lens is just 100 micrometres (0.1mm) wide. It can focus on images from a distance of 3mm, and relay them over the length of a 1.7m optical fibre to which it is attached.

The “imaging system” fits comfortably inside a standard syringe needle, said the team, allowing for delivery into a human organ or even the brain.

“Endoscopic applications will allow for noninvasive and nondestructive examination of small objects in the medical as well as the industrial sector,” they wrote. – AFP


These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever. But it comes at a cost. Advertisers are cancelling campaigns, and our live events have come to an abrupt halt. Our income has been slashed.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years. We’ve survived thanks to the support of our readers, we will need you to help us get through this.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.

Advertising

SANDF inquiry clears soldiers of the death of Collins Khosa

The board of inquiry also found that it was Khosa and his brother-in-law Thabiso Muvhango who caused the altercation with the defence force members

Inside Facebook’s big bet on Africa

New undersea cables will massively increase bandwidth to the continent

No back to school for teachers just yet

Last week the basic education minister was adamant that teachers will return to school on May 25, but some provinces say not all Covid-19 measures are in place to prevent its spread

Engineering slips out of gear at varsity

Walter Sisulu University wants to reprioritise R178-million that it stands to give back to treasury after failing to spend it
Advertising

Press Releases

Road to recovery for the tourism sector: The South African perspective

The best-case scenario is that South Africa's tourism sector’s recovery will only begin in earnest towards the end of this year

What Africa can learn from Cuba in combating the Covid-19 pandemic

Africa should abandon the neoliberal path to be able to deal with Covid-19 and other health system challenges likely to emerge in future

Coexisting with Covid-19: Saving lives and the economy in India

A staggered exit from the lockdown accompanied by stepped-up testing to cover every district is necessary for India right now

Covid-19: Eased lockdown and rule of law Webinar

If you are arrested and fined in lockdown, you do get a criminal record if you pay the admission of guilt fine

Covid-19 and Frontline Workers

Who is caring for the healthcare workers? 'Working together is how we are going to get through this. It’s not just a marathon, it’s a relay'.

PPS webinar Part 2: Small business, big risk

The risks that businesses face and how they can be dealt with are something all business owners should be well acquainted with

Call for applications for the position of GCRO executive director

The Gauteng City-Region Observatory is seeking to appoint a high-calibre researcher and manager to be the executive director and to lead it

DriveRisk stays safe with high-tech thermal camera solution

Itec Evolve installed the screening device within a few days to help the driver behaviour company become compliant with health and safety regulations