Israel Developing Smallest Camera on Earth
Two Israeli companies - medical device company Medigus and specialty foundry company Tower Semiconductor - have announced their collaboration on the world's smallest medical video camera.
Based on advanced complementary metal–oxide–semiconductor (CMOS) technology, the sophisticated tiny camera will be used for disposable endoscopes and various medical and surgical purposes. Medigus, experts in the miniaturization of diagnostic and surgical tools and Tower, a leading specialty semiconductor manufacturer and foremost CMOS image sensor provider, expect the innovation will lower the cost of endoscopic and other diagnostic procedures, as well as improve curative treatments.
The companies released a joint press release in which they touted the product as "offer[ing] a high performance product at a low cost and combin[ing] superb sensitivity, resolution and dynamic versatility, allowing customers a variety of potential medical applications in growing markets such as Gastroenterology, Natural Orifice Transluminal Endoscopy Surgery, Bronchoscopy, Orthopedics and ENT."
The mini-cameras will measure a mere 700 by 700 microns, or about seven times the width of a human hair. Because they will be created for one-time use, they will not need to be sterilized after performing their work.
The first samples have already been distributed, with mass production expected to begin in the middle of next year. The camera's sensor will be manufactured at one of Tower's two Israeli factories, Fab2, using a 0.18-micron CMOS image sensor process, and implanted in cameras produced at Medigus's Omer facilities.
Medigus CEO Dr. Elazar Sonnenschein called the new camera a "dramatic breakthrough", saying the smallest-ever camera will enable procedures not previously achievable, "giving both physicians and patients the most cost-effective level of technology, without compromising the quality of treatment which they deserve."
Tower's share closed at $0.59 on Nasdaq Sunday. The share rose 14.3% by midday on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE) to NIS 2.82, and Medigus jumped 36.9% to NIS 2.60, according to Globes online business magazine.