PatentDe  


Dokumentenidentifikation EP1847214 06.12.2007
EP-Veröffentlichungsnummer 0001847214
Titel Drahtlose optische Ultrabreitband-Endoskopvorrichtung
Anmelder Karl Storz Endovision, Inc., Charlton, Mass., US
Erfinder Brinkrant, Dashiell, 01605 Worcester, MA01605, US
Vertreter derzeit kein Vertreter bestellt
Vertragsstaaten AT, BE, BG, CH, CY, CZ, DE, DK, EE, ES, FI, FR, GB, GR, HU, IE, IS, IT, LI, LT, LU, LV, MC, MT, NL, PL, PT, RO, SE, SI, SK, TR
Sprache des Dokument EN
EP-Anmeldetag 20.04.2007
EP-Aktenzeichen 070080957
EP-Offenlegungsdatum 24.10.2007
Veröffentlichungstag im Patentblatt 06.12.2007
IPC-Hauptklasse A61B 1/05(2006.01)A, F, I, 20070925, B, H, EP
IPC-Nebenklasse A61B 1/267(2006.01)A, L, I, 20070925, B, H, EP   

Beschreibung[en]
FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The invention relates to a video endoscopic device, and more particularly to a wireless transmitting endoscopic device using an UWB signal format for use in non-invasive surgical and intubation procedures.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

In the United States, approximately 20 million patients are operated on and anesthetized each year. Approximately 50% of surgeries are performed using general anesthesia, which means the patient is put to sleep and the ventilation and other physiological functions are monitored. While anesthetized, the patient's breathing functions are temporarily disabled. Ventilation is therefore supplied to the patient by the anesthesiologist during the procedure.

Ventilation is provided through an endotracheal tube. This tube is inserted into the trachea, and it is closed against the wall of the trachea by an inflatable cuff. The insertion of this tube involves risks that the anesthesiologist seeks to avoid or at least minimize. It is estimated that between one in 6,000 to one in 8,000 general anesthesia procedures result in death. There are of course many causes but of these it is estimated that about one third of them are caused by the intubation procedure.

The foremost obstacles encountered by the anesthesiologist include; the remoteness of the location where the tube is to be positioned, the consequent restriction of view as the tube is inserted, variations and anomalies in the anatomy of the patients, an uncomfortable and unnatural position for the anesthesiologist while holding the instrument, the potential need to change blades during the procedure, and the necessity for rapid intubation.

It should be noted that when the tube is inserted, the patient is asleep hyperoxygenated and then paralyzed for the procedure, and therefore not breathing. In addition, the ventilator is not yet in operation. This gives the anesthesiologist only about two minutes in which to intubate the patient, inflate the cuff, and start ventilation. If he is delayed because of unsuccessful attempts, he must stop, apply a ventilation mask to the patient, supply oxygen for a time through the mask, remove the mask, adjust medication if necessary, and then start over again. This delays the operation and extends the patient's time under anesthesia. This extension of time while under anesthesia may have very serious consequences, especially for elderly patients.

With the advent of endoscopic equipment and small cameras, instrumentation has been improved to the extent that it can enable viewing of the cords and larynx on a video screen thereby facilitating the intubation of the patient in a relatively quick and safe manner. Systems typically use, for example a Charge-Coupled Device (CCD) as the image sensor, in the form of a light-sensitive chip that converts the optical signals into electrical signals that are conveyed from the CCD to, for example, an image-sensing camera module. However, such systems typically use an illumination source, which supplies illuminating light to the area ahead of the device via an illumination cable, and transmit images picked up by the CCD back to a video monitor via an image cable. The cabling and light guides can add complexity and to the system and increase the corresponding size and weight of the device.

Endoscopes are now widely used in minimally invasive surgery. Endoscopes typically contain a light guiding system, usually in the form of fiber optic cables, in order to bring light to the surgical area. The light guiding system typically extends through the handle of the laryngoscope and through a guide tube located in the blade so as to position the light guiding system to illuminate the area ahead of the blade. Endoscopes also typically contain an image guiding system, for example in the form of a rigid rod lens system, arranged in the shaft of the endoscope. The image guiding system can also be configured as an ordered, flexible fiber optic bundle. The image guiding system is utilized to transmit reflected light from the area ahead of the blade to a camera. The camera, attached at the proximal end of the endoscope, usually contains a CCD sensor. The image guide typically extends from the distal end of the device through the guide tube and then through for example, a handle of the device.

Typically, the combination light guiding system and image guiding system are permanently attached to the handle and are continuous, extending from the distal end of the device, through a handle and to the camera for the image guiding system, and to the light source for the light guiding system. Therefore, the light guiding system and image guiding system extending from the handle for insertion into the guide tube typically comprise flexible coherent fiber optic bundles. However, when reconfiguring the device, the bundle must be carefully inserted or withdrawn from the opening of the guide tube. This may take an unacceptable amount time for the physician to thread the bundle into the tube if the device must be reconfigured in the middle of the intubation process.

The light and image guiding systems have typically been permanently attached to the handle to ensure the system will reliably transmit the illuminating light and reflected images. To utilize a detachably connectable light and image guiding system, the attachment means has to rigidly hold the member in place such that the light and image guiding systems did not become misaligned. In addition, the attachment means must be easy and quick to operate, making it possible to perform the coupling procedure with as little close attention as possible, but nevertheless reliably.

In addition, any flexible bundles used may easily become damaged and/or may wear over time, degrading or rendering the system inoperable. As a visual inspection of the device often will not indicate whether the bundles are damaged, it is conceivable that a physician may obtain a damaged or malfunctioning laryngoscope not realizing that it is damaged.

The time involved with determining that the instrument is malfunctioning, withdrawing it, finding another laryngoscope, and then intubating the patient may have severe adverse effects upon the patient under anesthesia.

Further, laryngoscopes, as with most medical equipment, must be sterilized after use. Because the light and image guiding systems are permanently attached to the handle, they are exposed to extremely high temperatures, which also cause wear and/or failure of the flexible bundles. Also, because the light and image guiding systems are subjected to the sterilization process with the handle and blades, the handle must be hermetically sealed which may greatly add to the cost in manufacturing such a device.

It has been contemplated to use wireless systems for obtaining information inside of a body. For example, U.S. Patent No. 6,918,872 and U.S. Published Application No. 2003/0085994 teach use of capsule type medical devices that transmit information via radio waves. The capsule device is swallowed by the patient. However, a problem with these types of systems is that the device may only be used to inspect the patient's digestive track and may not be manipulated by the doctor to inspect specific areas inside of the body.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It is therefore desired to provide an improved video imaging system for use in an endoscopic device that reduces the complexity and size of present systems.

It is also desired to provide an improved video imaging system for use in an endoscopic device that reduces the time required for changing or reconfiguring the device.

It is further desired to provide an improved video imaging system for use in an endoscopic device that will achieve the above-listed benefits while still reducing the cost associated with the manufacture of the device.

It is still further desired to provide an improved video imaging system for use in a laryngoscope that minimizes the problems associated with having the guides extend from the end of the blade to the handle and from the handle to video equipment.

These and other objectives are achieved by providing an endoscopic device that utilizes a digital imaging chip located in the endoscopic device. In addition, a Light Emitting Diode (LED) may further be located in the endoscopic device for illumination of an area to be viewed.

It is contemplated that the digital imaging chip may comprise either a CCD or a C-Mos chip.

Further, it is contemplated that the digital imaging chip may be provided as a wireless device for wirelessly transmitting image data picked up from the area to be viewed. This provides a number of significant advantages. First, wireless transmission of data allows for both the light and the image guides to the device to be eliminated. For flexible endoscopes, this means that the costs associated with the provision of, for example, coherent fiber optical cables may be reduced. In addition, the wear and tear that such cables endure through normal use and manipulation is also avoided. Still further, the size of the device, i.e. the diameter, may be reduced because flexible portion no longer has to maintain light or image guides therein.

In the case of a video laryngoscope, the light and image guides, whether flexible cables or a rigid attachment member, may be eliminated. In this manner, a physician no longer has to attach or be concerned with the threading of cables into guides because the cables have been eliminated. This allows for a quicker change of blades and a faster intubation of the patient with, for example, a laryngoscope.

The elimination of light and image guides also allows design for the device, whether an endoscope or a laryngoscope, to be simpler and less cumbersome. Especially is this the case where the endoscope or laryngoscope is provided completely wireless, leaving the physician free to move and manipulate the device without regard to wires or cables.

For video endoscopes, the digital imaging chip may, in one advantageous embodiment, be positioned at the distal end of the flexible endoscope. An LED is positioned adjacent to the digital imaging chip may be provided with a battery that may last for example, up to 12 hours. Alternatively, it is contemplated that the LED and/or the digital imaging chip may individually or both, be located at a proximal end of the endoscope or in the endoscope handle. In the case where either the LED and/or the digital imaging chip are positioned at a proximal end of the endoscope or in the handle, it is contemplated that an illuminating light guide will be positioned within the flexible endoscope for transmitting illuminating light to the area to be viewed ahead of the endoscope. Likewise, when the digital imaging chip is located at a proximal end of the endoscope or in the handle, an image guide will need to be located within the flexible endoscope for transmitting reflected light back to the digital imaging chip.

Similar configurations may be used for video laryngoscope applications, the digital imaging chip may be positioned at either the distal or proximal ends of the laryngoscope blade or in the handle along with the LED. It is contemplated that the blade or the handle may be provided with a cavity for receiving the digital imaging chip and LED, such that the video/illumination device is removable from the blade or the handle. In this manner the blade or the handle may be sterilized as normal and a single video/illumination device may be used with multiple blades. This would also allow for repair and/or replacement of the video/illumination device if it became damaged.

It is also contemplated that the image signal generated by the digital imaging chip may be wirelessly transmitted to a video system for display. The wireless transmission from the digital imaging chip allows for the benefits previously described herein.

In one advantageous embodiment, the wireless transmission may be accomplished via use of Ultra Wideband (UWB) technology. UWB systems transmit signals across a much wider frequency than conventional systems. The amount of spectrum occupied by a UWB signal, e.g. the bandwidth of the UWB signal, is typically at least 25% of the center frequency. A common technique for generating a UWB signal is to transmit pulses with durations less than 1 nanosecond.

It is contemplated that a number of UWB technologies may effectively be used. For example, one UWB technology is Multiband Orthogonal Frequency Division Mmodulation (OFDM) and another is Direct Sequence Ultra-Wideband (DS-UWB). It is contemplated that either of these technologies may effectively be used.

Transceivers may be made relatively small, low power, and low cost as the electronics are integrated in, for example, CMOS without use of reactive components. Additionally, ultra-wideband / nonsinusoidal signals form a spectrum which may coexist with and does not interfere with the sinewave spectrum. This is because the transmitted power is spread over a relatively large bandwidth such that the amount of power in any frequency band is relatively small.

A memory unit may also be provided for recording of the procedure. The memory unit may be provided in, for example, the endoscopic device so that, in the event there is a communication lapse between the digital imaging chip and the video display, the gathered image data may be buffered to allow the physician to monitor the positioning of the device after any possible interruption.

It is further contemplated that a window covering a cavity may be provided such that, in one embodiment, the video/illumination module may be removably inserted into the cavity. Alternatively, the video/illumination module may be removably or permanently affixed to the handle.

The wireless transmission therefore, allows for a smaller sized device, a simpler design, no wires or cables to deal with allowing greater ease of movement for the physician, lower cost, and interchangeability.

Accordingly, in one advantageous embodiment of the present invention, a video endoscope system for displaying image data to a user is provided comprising an endoscopic device for coupling to a video system, the endoscopic device having a proximal end connected to a handle and a distal end and including, a video/illumination device associated with the endoscopic device, the video/illumination device having an illumination device and a battery for illuminating an area to be viewed, and a digital imaging chip for picking up reflected light from the area and generating image data. The system is provided such that the image data is wirelessly transmitted to the video system for display to a user.

In another advantageous embodiment, a video endoscope system for displaying image data to a user is provided comprising, a flexible endoscope for coupling to a video system, the flexible endoscope having a proximal end connected to a handle and a distal end and including, and a digital imaging chip and an illuminating device associated with the flexible endoscope, the illuminating device having a battery for illuminating an area to be viewed, and the digital imaging chip for picking up reflected light from the area and for generating image data. The system is provided such that the image data is wirelessly transmitted to the video system for display to a user.

In still another advantageous embodiment, a video laryngoscope system is provided for displaying image data to a user. The system comprises a video laryngoscope for coupling to a video system, the video laryngoscope having a blade with a proximal end connected to a handle and a distal end. The system further comprises a digital imaging chip and an illuminating device associated with the video laryngoscope, the illuminating device having a battery for illuminating an area to be viewed, and the digital imaging chip for picking up reflected light from the area and for generating image data. The system is provided such that the image data is wirelessly transmitted to the video system for display to a user.

In yet another advantageous embodiment, a method for viewing an area with an endoscopic device is provided comprising the steps of, positioning a digital imaging chip and an illuminating device on the endoscopic device, and wirelessly coupling the endoscopic device to a video system. The method further comprises the steps of, illuminating an area to be viewed with the illumination device and powered by a battery, and generating image data based on reflected light picked up by the digital imaging chip. The method still further comprises the steps of, wirelessly transmitting the image data to the video system, and displaying the image data to a user.

In still another advantageous embodiment, a video endoscope system for wirelessly transmitting and displaying image data to a user is provided comprising, an endoscopic device. The endoscopic device includes an illuminating device for illuminating an area to be viewed, a power source, coupled to and for powering the illuminating device, and a digital imaging chip for picking up reflected light from the area and for generating image data. The system is provided such that the digital imaging chip is wirelessly coupled to a video system via a coupling circuit for receiving the image data. The system is further provided such that the image data is transmitted from the coupling circuit to a display.

In yet another advantageous embodiment, a video endoscope system for displaying image data to a user is provided comprising an endoscope for coupling to a video system, the endoscope having a proximal end connected to a handle and a distal end. The endoscope includes a digital imaging chip and an illuminating device associated with the endoscope. The illuminating device has a battery for illuminating an area to be viewed. The digital imaging chip is provided for picking up reflected light from the area and for generating image data. The system is provided such that the image data is wirelessly transmitted as an ultra-wide band signal format to the video system for display to a user.

In still another advantageous embodiment, a video laryngoscope system for displaying image data to a user is provided comprising a video laryngoscope for coupling to a video system, the video laryngoscope having a blade with a proximal end connected to a handle and a distal end. The system further comprises a digital imaging chip and an illuminating device associated with the video laryngoscope. The illuminating device is provided for illuminating an area to be viewed and has a battery. The digital imaging chip is provided for picking up reflected light from the area and for generating image data. The system is provided such that the image data is wirelessly transmitted as an ultra-wide band signal format to the video system for display to a user.

In yet another advantageous embodiment, a video endoscope system for wirelessly transmitting and displaying image data to a user is provided comprising an endoscopic device including a distal and a proximal end, the proximal end coupled to a handle. The endoscopic device is further provided with an illuminating device for illuminating an area to be viewed, a power source, coupled to and for powering the illuminating device, and a digital imaging chip for picking up reflected light from the area and for generating image data. The system is provided such that the digital imaging chip is wirelessly coupled via an ultra-wide band signal format to a video system via a coupling circuit for receiving the image data and the image data is transmitted from the coupling circuit to a display.

Other objects of the invention and its particular features and advantages will become more apparent from consideration of the following drawings and accompanying detailed description.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Figure 1 is a block diagram of one advantageous embodiment of the present invention.

Figure 2 is a block diagram of the video/illumination module according to Figure 1.

Figure 3 is a block diagram of the video system according to Figure 1.

Figure 4 is an illustration of a video laryngoscope with a curved blade according to Figure 1.

Figure 4A is an alternate embodiment according to Figure 4.

Figure 5 is an illustration of the curved blade detached from the handle according to Figure 4.

Figure 5A is an alternate embodiment according to Figure 5.

Figure 6 is an illustration of a video laryngoscope with a straight blade according to Figure 1.

Figure 6A is an alternate embodiment according to Figure 6.

Figure 7 is an illustration of a rigid endoscopic device according to Figure 1.

Figure 7A is an alternate embodiment according to Figure 7.

Figure 8 is an illustration of a flexible endoscopic device according to Figure 1.

Figure 8A is an alternate embodiment according to Figure 8.

Figure 9 is an illustration of another advantageous embodiment of the present invention according to Figures 1, 4 and 7 - 8.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Referring now to the drawings, wherein like reference numerals designate corresponding structure throughout the views.

A video system 100 for use with an endoscopic device 102 is depicted in Figure 1. It is contemplated that the endoscopic device 102 may comprise, for example, a laryngoscope 130 as depicted in Figures 4 - 6, or an endoscope 170 as depicted in Figures 7 - 8.

A video/illumination device 104 is located in endoscopic device 102 and may comprise a digital imaging chip 106, an LED 108, a power source 110 such as a battery, and a memory 111 as illustrated in Figure 2. Alternatively, it is contemplated that video/illumination device 104 may comprise digital imaging chip 106 and LED 108 only, with the battery 110 and memory 111 positioned in the handle 132, which is represented by the broken line drawings in FIG. 2 of battery 110 and memory 111. In this configuration, electrical power would be transmitted to LED 108 and digital image chip 106 from the handle via a channel or coupling, and image data would be transmitted from digital image chip 106 to handle 132 via an image channel.

It is contemplated that a single coupling or channel may be used to facilitate transmission of power and digital image data, which may comprise a wired connection or wireless connection.

The LED 108 is very compact in size yet may provide for illumination of an area to be viewed, such as, for example, an area ahead of the endoscopic device 102.

The battery 110 may comprise any battery type as is commonly used in industry and is contemplated that it may have a twelve-hour battery life. Further, battery 110 may in one advantageous embodiment be rechargeable.

Referring back to Figure 1, video/illumination device 104 may pick up reflected light from an area to be viewed and translates the reflected light into image data that may be transmitted to video system 112 via transmission circuitry 105. This transmission may advantageously be wireless. The transmission may comprise any acceptable transmission means including but not limited to for example, radio-frequency transmission. In a preferred embodiment, transmission circuitry 105 is positioned in handle 132 for transmission of the image data to video system 112.

Video system 112 may, in one advantageous embodiment comprise a video receiver/coupler 114 and a video system/display 116. Video receiver/coupler 114 may comprise any type of electronic circuitry and/or hardware for receiving the image data generated by video/illumination device 104. It is contemplated that video receiver/coupler 114 may comprise for example, coupling circuitry or hardware (118), amplification circuitry or hardware (120) and transmission circuitry or hardware (122) as depicted in Figure 3.

The wireless transmission between video/illumination device 104 and video system 112 is illustrated in Figure 1 as a curved line with arrows in two different directions. It is contemplated that upon initiation of video system 100 the video receiver/coupler 114 can "hand-shake" with video/illumination circuitry establishing communication therebetween.

In an advantageous embodiment, wireless transmission comprises an UWB transmission. As UWB systems transmit signals across a much wider frequency than conventional systems, a relatively large amount of data may be transmitted. This is advantageous for video medical systems, where relatively high resolution is beneficial and signal lag is undesirable. A number of UWB technologies may effectively be used including, for example, Multiband Orthogonal Frequency Division Modulation (OFDM) or Direct Sequence Ultra-Wideband (DS-UWB).

It is contemplated that digital imaging chip 106 may comprise, in one advantageous embodiment, a CMOS chip. The CMOS chip may be made relatively small in size, utilize relatively low power and be inexpensive to manufacture. UWB signals are also present good signal characteristics for use in a medical environment. For example, ultra-wideband / nonsinusoidal signals do not interfere with the sinewave spectrum so as to minimize any interference in existing operating room equipment. This advantage is achieved, at least in part because the power transmitted by the UWB signal is spread over a relatively large bandwidth. In other words, the amount of power at any one frequency band at any time is relatively small.

In addition, it is contemplated that information relating to the video/illumination device 104 may be downloaded from memory 111 by video receiver/coupler 114 related to for example, configuration data, use data and/or maintenance data. This is especially useful where different video receiver/couplers 114 are used with differing endoscopic devices. The data for example may inform the physician of the total number of hours of use for the particular video receiver/coupler 114 and provide a message relating to scheduled or required maintenance needed. It is further contemplated the data on memory 11 may be updated, especially related to system use and maintenance.

Once video system 112 has identified and established communication with endoscopic device 102, command signals may be sent to video/illumination device 104 to turn LED 108 on. It is contemplated that the command signals may be automatic upon establishment of communication or may advantageously be manual via a switch 124 located on the endoscopic device 102 as seen in Figure 1.

Video system/display 116 may comprise virtually any commercially available video system and monitor for display of the image data generated by video/illumination device 104.

In Figure 4 endoscopic device 102 comprises a video laryngoscope 130, having handle 132 along with an attachable blade 134. The handle 132 may be provided with a knurled outer gripping surface 136, however this is not necessary. The blade 134 illustrated in this embodiment is the well-known McIntosh blade and may further optionally include a hinge-type joinder 138.

The hinge-type joinder 138 includes a pair of conventional hinge socket 140 and connector 142 respectively mounted to the lower end of the handle 136 and to a proximal end 144 of the blade 134. Socket 140 further includes a crossbar 146. Connector 142 includes a hook 148 in a block 150 that fits into socket 140 as seen in Figures 4 and 5. The hook 148 engages the crossbar 146, and the handle 132 is rotated 90 degrees so that the blade 134 will be rigidly held to the handle 132. This is a common hinge-type joinder 138 used in this type of instrumentation and is useful for all blade forms, of which the two illustrated forms (Figures 4 and 6) are merely examples. A ball detent 152 detachably retains the handle 132 and blade 134 together and erect in the assembled configuration. The assembled instrument is rigid during the procedure.

Blade 134 has a distal end 154 which may be smoothed by a bulb-like edge 156. It has a curved top surface 158 extending from the distal end 154 toward the proximal end 144. This top surface 158 is used to elevate the tongue and permit the visualization of the vocal cords beneath it.

As seen in Figures 4 and 5, blade 134 additionally includes cavity 160 at the distal end 154 of the blade 134. The cavity 160 is designed to receive video/illumination device 104 therein. Cavity 160 may further include in one advantageous embodiment clear window 162, which may act to protect video/illumination device 104. It is further contemplated that video/illumination device 104 may or may not be removable from cavity 160.

As seen in Figure 4, video/illumination device 104 may be positioned in cavity 160 at, for example, at distal end 154 of blade 134 so as to illuminate the area ahead of blade 134. Video/illumination device 104 is further positioned to pick-up reflected light from the area ahead of blade 134, to generate image data corresponding to the reflected light. The image data may then advantageously be coupled 107 to processing circuitry 105 to be wirelessly transmitted to video system 112 for display. It is contemplated that the wireless transmission may be accomplished, for example, via an UWB signal. In this manner, processing circuitry 105 may be used to put the image data into an UWB signal format for transmission to the video system.

It is still further contemplated that processing circuitry 105 positioned in handle 132 may further be enclosed in a detachable enclosure 109 positioned in handle 132 (FIG. 9). For example, the electronics enclosure may be insertable and provide an audible "click" to lock into place within the handle 132 to power up and control the digital imaging chip 106 and LED 108, which may be positioned along the blade 134. This advantageously provides for removal of the detachable enclosure 109 during, for example, sterilization and/or autoclaving. It is contemplated that the detachable enclosure 109 may further include battery 110.

Referring now to Figures 4A and 5A, an alternative embodiment of the present invention is illustrated. In this embodiment, video/illumination device 104 is located at a proximal end of blade 134. While video/illumination device 104 is illustrated as located at the proximal end of blade 134, it is contemplated that, for example, a digital imaging chip 106 and/or an LED 108 may individually or both be positioned at the proximal end. In this embodiment, an illumination/image guide 161 is provided for transmitting the illuminating light generated by LED 108 to the distal end of the blade 134, and for transmitting reflected light back to the digital imaging chip 106. Digital imaging chip 106 may comprise, for example but is not limited to, a CCD or a C-Mos chip. Advantageously, the system may further utilize UWB signal technology.

In the case that only LED 108 is positioned at the distal end of blade 134, illumination/image guide 161 need only comprise an image guide for transmitting reflected light back to digital imaging chip 106. Likewise, in the case that only digital imaging chip 106 is positioned at the distal end of blade 134, illumination/image guide 161 need only comprise an illumination guide for transmitting illuminating light to the area to be viewed.

Turning now to Figure 6, an alternative configuration of video laryngoscope 130 is provided. In this configuration, video laryngoscope 130 is similar to that described in connection with Figures 4 and 5, but is provided with a straight blade 134. This is the well-known Foregger-Magill blade. It is contemplated that the invention may equally be used with many differing configurations, and that the particular configurations illustrated in Figures 4 - 6 are provided merely as examples and not provided as a limitation. It will be evident to the physician that the invention may be used with virtually any laryngoscope configuration, which is selected by the physician according to the needs of the patient.

It is further contemplated that the invention may equally have application in neo-natal intubation procedures in which the diameter of the laryngoscope is very small due to anatomical structures of infants and premature babies. These types of extremely small diameter laryngoscopes are typically flexible for at least a portion of the insertion section.

Referring to Figure 6A, and alternative embodiment to Figure 6 is illustrated with video/illumination device 104 positioned at a proximal end of blade 134. This advantageous embodiment is similar to the embodiment described in connection with Figures 4A and 5A and therefore will not be re-described here.

Turning now to Figures 7 and 8, an endoscope 170 is illustrated as endoscopic device 102. It is contemplated that endoscope 170 may comprise a handle 132, as previously discussed in connection with figures 4 - 6, and a shaft 172. The shaft 172 may comprise a rigid member as illustrated in Figure 7, or may advantageously comprise a flexible member for at least a portion of the shaft 172, as illustrated in Figure 8. The endoscope shaft 170, whether rigid or flexible may be attached to handle 132 via any well known connection mechanism in the art.

A cavity 160 is located at a distal end 174 of shaft 170. Cavity 160, as previously discussed, is provided to receive video/illumination device 104 therein. Additionally, in one advantageous embodiment, a window 162 is provided on cavity 160 to for example, enclose and protect video/illumination device 104.

It is further contemplated that video/illumination device 104 may be coupled 107 to transmission circuitry 105 positioned in handle 132 as previously discussed. Additionally, endoscope 170 may utilize an UWB wireless connection to video system 112 as previously discussed.

Figures 7A and 8A illustrate alternative embodiments to those illustrated in Figures 7 and 8, with video/illumination device 104 positioned at a proximal end of shaft 172. Again, it is contemplated that either digital imaging chip 106 and/or LED 108 may be positioned at the proximal end of shaft 172. Alternatively, digital imaging chip 106 may be positioned at the distal end while LED 108 is positioned at the proximal end or vice versa. In any event, it is contemplated that if either digital imaging chip 106 or LED 108 or both are located at the proximal end of shaft 172, illumination/image guide 161 is provided for transmitting the illuminating light to and reflected light from the area to be viewed as described in connection with Figures 4A and 5A. Alternatively, imaging chip 106 and/or LED 108 may be located in handle 132 with transmission circuitry 105.

While the present invention has been described in connection with a video laryngoscope and a video endoscope, these are merely two applications in which the invention may be utilized and are not intended to exhaust all possible applications. Rather, it is contemplated that the present invention may effectively be utilized in many varying application in which an image picked up by a digital imaging chip is wirelessly transmitted via UWB signal technology for display to a user.

Although the invention has been described with reference to a particular arrangement of parts, features and the like, these are not intended to exhaust all possible arrangements or features, and indeed many other modifications and variations will be ascertainable to those of skill in the art.


Anspruch[en]
A video endoscope system for displaying image data to a user comprising: - an endoscope device for coupling to a video system, said endoscope device having a proximal end coupled to a handle and a distal end and including: - a digital imaging chip and an illuminating device associated with said endoscope, said illuminating device for illuminating an area to be viewed, and said digital imaging chip for picking up reflected light from the area and for generating image data; and - said image data wirelessly transmitted as an ultra-wide band signal format to a video system for display to a user. The video endoscope system according to claim 1, wherein said endoscopic device comprises an endoscope. The video endoscope system according to claim 2, wherein said endoscope comprises a flexible endoscope. The video endoscope system according to anyone of claims 1 through 3, wherein said endoscopic device comprises a laryngoscope having a blade. The video endoscope system according to anyone of claims 1 through 4, wherein said digital imaging chip is selected from the group consisting of: a CMOS chip, a CCD chip and combinations thereof. The video endoscope system according to anyone of claims 1 through 5, wherein said illuminating device comprises an LED. The video endoscope system according to anyone of claims 1 through 6, further comprising a video display for displaying the image data. The video endoscope system according to anyone of claims 1 through 7, further comprising a storage for storing the image data. The video endoscope system according to anyone of claims 1 through 8, wherein said illuminating device is coupled with a power source for powering said illuminating device. The video endoscope system according to claim 9, wherein said power source comprises a battery. The video endoscope system according to anyone of claims 1 through 10, wherein said digital imaging chip is wirelessly coupled via said ultra-wide band signal format to said video system via a circuitry for receiving said image data, and for processing and transmitting said image data. The video endoscope system according to claim 11, wherein said circuitry is positioned in said handle. The video endoscope system according to claim 12, wherein said circuitry is detachably connectable with said handle. The video endoscope system according to claim 13, wherein said circuitry is positioned in an enclosure, which is detachably connectable from said handle. The video endoscope system according to claim 14, wherein said enclosure includes an audible indication when said enclosure is inserted into said handle to indicate said enclosure if fully inserted. The video endoscope system according to claim 10 and 14 or 15, wherein said battery is positioned in said enclosure. A video endoscope system for wirelessly transmitting image data to a user comprising: - an endoscopic having: - a handle; - a shaft with a distal end and a proximal end coupled to said handle; - an illuminating device for providing illuminating light to an area to be viewed; - a battery coupled to said illuminating device; - an imaging device for generating image data of the area to be viewed; - processing circuitry located in said handle for processing and transmitting the image data to a video system for display to a user; - said processing circuitry detachably connectable from said handle; - said imaging chip wirelessly coupled to the video system. The video endoscope system according to claim 17, wherein said processing circuitry processes the image data into an ultra-wide band signal format for wireless transmission to the video system.






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A Täglicher Lebensbedarf
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G Physik
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