Blink and You’ll Miss It: The Medical Camera the Size of a Grain of Salt

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Call it an easy pill to swallow. German researchers have created the world’s tiniest camera for medical use. Barely larger than a grain of salt, the camera is almost too small to see with the naked eye. But for taking pictures of our innards, what could be better?

Scientists at Berlin’s Fraunhofer Institute developed the diminutive camera, which measures 1 x 1 x 1.5 millimeters, to strike the necessary balance between picture quality and cost. They developed a manufacturing method to mass-produce the cameras and control costs, as current production techniques for medical cameras require intense, one-off attention. Fraunhofer can produce 28,000 of the salt-sized devices in one go, substantially reducing costs. Now only if our doctors wanted to charge less.

And because good things do indeed come in small packages, the camera’s quality is no DSLR, but it’s certainly good enough to take snapshots inside the human body. Researchers note the photo resolution as 250 x 250, with 62,500 total pixels per shot at 44 frames per second. Fraunhofer’s invention, unlike other medical-use cameras, can be disposed after it passes through one’s body. Good riddance!

The word endoscopy makes us cringe as much as the next guy, but with a camera this tiny, maybe – just maybe – we’d be ok with it.

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See Nikon’s inexpensive but powerful new DSLR camera.

See why NASA scrapped its 3D Mars camera.

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