Like most industrial motion solutions, the reliability of these micro motion systems is extremely high. The key to the motion performance is very high repeatability and accuracy driven by the closed loop performance that intelligent sensors provide. I am not sure how this specifically translates into surgical applications, since the surgeon introduces a new type of flexible intelligence into the system. I believe that "robot assist" systems are one way that advanced motion control increases the accuracy of surgical systems by providing an additional tool for the surgeon. Others may be able to offer more insight into this area of advanced control.
These days, 13megapixel cameras available in common cell-phones are everywhere, we should see them in medical devices. But, perhaps the process in which it takes to certify a tech would be too much work and money. However, this modular design may side step evaluation rules. Once a device is certified, does a small component change need to be signed off on by third parties? If not, then this camera setup could continue to stay on the leading edge.
Having reported on machine vision for a few years before coming to DN, I have to agree with Cabe: commercial computer vision/machine vision, including medical apps, has been a very small industry or group of industries with very low volumes, for nearly all of its history. Cell phones have awesome camera sensor chips because of the dollars and volumes involved. Just as consumer electronics volumes (and capitalization) helped along the development of processors and memory, so has it done the same thing for CMOS-based imaging sensors, but only recently. That said, the precision needed for medical imaging and industrial imaging is a lot higher than most CMOS image sensors can provide--yet.
I have to agree with James on this one. The medical industry lags behind due to the amount of developers active in that sector. I have never heard of a medical design company with $100 billion in cash, like Apple. So, without the funds, innovation and tech adoption will be slow. Perhaps these big tech companies will branch out into the med world as good Samaritans. Then again, with the problems and errors these big companies like HTC, Samsung, or Apple overlook in their devices, we might now want their help.
The copious checks in the medical build process is probably a deterrent too. The return on investment is probably very low.
James, you make an interesting point. Do you have an explaination as to why medical imaging is lagging behind? Could it have something to do with the long verifcation and validation test cycles needed for medical device approval that is causing the medical industry to be a follower rather than a leader?
Al--fascinating article. If I may, let me ask the following question: For those individuals, who have had cataract or Lasik surgery, do the systems compensate or do they need to compensate? I think this technology is very important but what conditions make the motion systems less reliable--if any. I have had cataract surgery in both eyes therefore have lenses in both eyes. Does that represent a problem for the hardware of software?
I can't believe that only now are medical imaging devices reaching the pixel density per inch in my cell phone (not to mention the decades old CNC control practices). It is only through clearer views, sharper images, and high resolution that industries start to understand their practices better. The amount of research data provided by high-resolution satellite images surpasses previous generations by magnitudes. Although this camera is a great first step, the technology is there to go beyond right now.
All industries can argue that research is important in whatever micro-bubble they are in. But, the medical industry is the most important, in my opinion. Having worked for a company that did contract work for the medical industry, there is very little money being poured into the sector. Only a handful of engineers worked at that company, including myself. We made devices to detect cancer, apply medical injections, etc, very important, life-dependant, products... only 3 engineers. Apple, Google, Microsoft has hundreds, if not thousands, at their disposal. The dichotomy is depressing.
Great work on the imaging device... now take it to the next level.