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Cameras out of the salt shaker
Date:3/14/2011

was sawed out, wired and mounted on the lens that was still missing. That means wiring them 28,000 times and mounting them just as often.

The researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Reliability and Microintegration have streamlined this process by developing a new way to access the electrical contacts. Now, the wiring process is faster and the entire camera system is smaller. The trick lies in the fact that they do not reach the contacts of each individual image sensor via the side any more but rather, simultaneously, with all sensors via their reverse side while they are still connected as a wafer. That means that you no longer have to mount the individual lenses. Instead, you can connect them with the image sensor wafers as lens wafers. Only then is the stack of wafers sawed apart into individual microcameras. Another upside is the fact that it supplies razor-sharp pictures even with very thin endoscopes. To date, the camera systems built into them had to be divided because of their size. The lens was at the tip of the endoscope and the sensor at the other end of the glass fiber strand. The new microcamera is small enough for the tip of the endoscope. It has a resolution of 62,500 pixels and transmits the image information through the endoscope via an electrical cable. Stephan Voltz, who is the CEO of Awaiba GmbH, says that "at 1.0 times 1.0 times 1.0 millimeters, this camera is as small as coarsely ground grain of salt the smallest camera that we are aware of."

It is not only medical technology, but also the automotive industry that is interested in this tiny camera. Presently, they are researching the possibility of replacing outside rearview mirrors on cars with microcameras. This would reduce flow resistance and energy consumption. Beyond this, installed in fittings, this camera would be able to calculate the driver's eye movements and prevent him from nodding off for a few seconds. Stephan Voltz is happy about the wide range of possibl
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Contact: Martin Wilke
martin.wilke@izm.fraunhofer.de
49-304-640-3602
Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft
Source:Eurekalert  

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