The modern laparoscope relies on Hopkins’ glass rod lenses, a fiber-optic light source, a video camera, and external cables. This paper discusses the feasibility of developing an experimental prototype of a completely wireless laparoscope by making use of the latest in electronic and optic miniaturization. Design requirements were defined to mimic a standard 10 mm adult laparoscope. An 8 mm diameter (CMOS) camera was used, which delivered standard definition TV resolution at an image refresh rate of 30 Hz. A wide-angle lens was chosen, and a focusing mechanism was designed. Instead of a fiber-optic cable, illumination was achieved using four miniature LED lights. A 2.4 GHz wireless transmission with adequate range for use in an operating theater was chosen. A wireless receiver on a standard personal computer was used to drive a video monitor using off the shelf image processing software. A built-in rechargeable battery powered the wireless laparoscope. Flicker-free in vitro wireless video transmission was achieved. The laparoscope was made waterproof with a front cover lens and can be gas or chemically sterilized. The prototype laparoscope weights 78 g as compared with 900 g for a typical 10 mm laparoscope, camera, fiber-optic, and camera cables. Drawbacks of the prototype include reduced resolution of the video image as compared to high definition (HD) TV quality available on the most recent commercial camera systems. This experimental prototype has illustrated the feasibility of wireless endoscopy systems. The expected benefits include improved ergonomic maneuverability, reduced weight, and decreased electric power requirements.

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