OLYMPUS

PURSUIT
PURSUIT Top
Inside Olympus
World Vision
Feature Articles
Photo Gallery
Innovations
Editor's Desk
Archives
PURSUIT World
Privacy notice
Contact Us
Join Our Mailing List
get Flash Player
InnovationsDecember2009
"This active guide tube was developed with use at disaster sites in mind."
In this edition of PURSUIT, we introduce an active guide tube for use with industrial videoscopes. An industrial videoscope is a device for the remote viewing of inaccessible areas within confined spaces, but it can sometimes become stuck when encountering irregularly shaped areas, making it extremely difficult to push in all the way entirely by hand. This weakness has finally been overcome through the world's first active industrial videoscope.
Active Guide Tube for IPLEX FX IV8675 Industrial Videoscope
Active Guide Tube for IPLEX FX IV8675 Industrial Videoscope

Mr. Tomokazu Iwasaki of the IMS Engineering Department, which developed the active guide tube, had this to say: "This guide tube was developed with use at disaster sites in mind. Its self-propelling functionality enables endoscopes to be pushed into areas that would normally be impossible to reach by the unaided hand. For example, it could be used to find someone buried under rubble."

This technology uses a motor to make artificial cilia move in rhythmic waves, propelling the endoscope forward. The idea for this was first conceived by Tohoku University, a joint research partner in this project. According to Mr. Iwasaki, "It would have been easier to directly surround the videoscope with cilia, but we decided to use a guide tube instead. We did this because cilia might be harmed or the motor could break down when used amid the rough, rocky terrain at disaster sites."

Mr. Iwasaki, the industrial videoscope engineer.
Mr. Iwasaki, the industrial videoscope engineer.

Mr. Iwasaki is developing this technology with those who will be using it onsite always in mind. "It moves forward at about 2 cm per second. You might think that's slow, but if it were to move too fast, you wouldn't be able to recognize the images it picked up. I think the speed we use is appropriate for those who'll be using it," added Mr. Iwasaki with more than a hint of satisfaction.

Look how small this motor is!
Look how small this motor is!

Mr. Iwasaki is now working on other development ideas. "We still get lots of requests for new products from people who work in the field. For example, they want us to put a microphone on the end of the videoscope so that they can speak with people trapped under the rubble. This is still difficult with current technology, but I think it would be amazing if we could make it happen." The products Mr. Iwasaki is working on are definitely worth keeping an eye on.

Top of this page
Copyright (C) OLYMPUS CORPORATION All Rights Reserved.