Fraunhofer IZM microcamera wins “365 Landmarks in the Land of Ideas” award

Berlin, / October 26, 2011

Die neue Mikrokamera ist nicht größer als grob gemahlenes Salz. Daher passt sie perfekt in die Endoskopspitze.
© Awaiba GmbH
Die neue Mikrokamera ist nicht größer als grob gemahlenes Salz. Daher passt sie perfekt in die Endoskopspitze.

The Fraunhofer Institute for Reliability and Microintegration IZM has won an award in the national innovation competition “365 Landmarks in the Land of Ideas”. The camera is used in healthcare technology, such as endoscopes. Smaller than the head of a pin and with a resolution of 62,500 pixels thanks to a unique “packaging technology”, Fraunhofer IZM’s microcamera sets a new benchmark in healthcare technology. Earlier, similar cameras were equipped with fiber optics, which allowed a resolution of 10,000 pixels. The endoscope with the tiny camera is expected to cost just a few euros. This high cost efficiency makes disposable endoscopes possible, unheard of to date because conventional endoscopes require expensive and laborious cleaning processes. Other applications for the endoscope can be found in the automotive industry. For example, the microcamera could replace the rear-view mirror, which would significantly reduce a vehicle’s air flow resistance and increase energy efficiency.

At today’s award ceremony, Ira Holl from the Deutsche Bank Berlin named Fraunhofer IZM’s microcamera a “Selected Landmark 2011” and emphasized that “Fraunhofer IZM’s new high-resolution microcamera revolutionizes endoscopy. Such convincing innovations ensure Germany has a pole position in healthcare technology.”

The tiny camera for high-resolution images is one of 365 award winners selected each year by the joint initiative “Germany – Land of Ideas“ and the Deutsche Bank under the aegis of the German Federal President Christian Wulff.

“We are very proud to be have been named a “Selected Landmark” in the Land of Ideas. Innovations like the microcamera show how extremely important microsystem technology is to the European research landscape.” commented Fraunhofer IZM’s Prof. Klaus-Dieter Lang.

Fraunhofer IZM’s microcamera pulled ahead of 2600 submissions to convince the independent jury. As an innovation fit for the future, it showcases Germany as the “Land of Ideas”. Ira Holl explained Deutsche Bank’s commitment by saying, “In a country like Germany, which is poor in natural resources, innovation is the engine of development and growth. Each day, the achievements and dedication of the award winners in the “365 Landmarks in the Land of Ideas” highlight just how forward-looking Germany is.”