Low-cost Endoscope That Does Not Use Optical Fiber

Low-cost Endoscope That Does Not Use Optical Fiber

ARS develops, designs and manufactures medical endoscopes at a reduced cost. Eyeing demand for low-cost endoscopes in emerging economies, ARS began by selling its products in India in December 2012, and ahead it aims to roll out mass-market models in Southeast Asian and South Asian markets.

"Three Japanese makers, Olympus, Pentax and Fujifilm, currently command around 90% of the world market. The remaining 10% is held by exceedingly small companies in the US, Europe or China. Developed markets are thus an extremely tough playing field for us, and so we are looking toward the emerging markets that are now opening up."

Endoscopes developed by ARS feature miniature LED lights at their tip and, even though available at a low cost, also provide HD video output. Plus, ARS does not use optical fiber, which features in close to 99% of the major makers' endoscopes, and this can reduce repair costs to a fifth or even a tenth of what they would be otherwise.

"Japan has witnessed boom market for pets in the last few years, with some owners now demanding the same level of medical care for their pets as afforded to humans. With an eye to such markets, we are also looking at moving into veterinary medical care--endoscopes for pets, in other words."

ARS obtained approval to manufacture veterinary medical devices in September 2012 and, ahead, plans to enlist the help of sales companies as it delves into the domestic pet market.




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Terrie’s Take is a selection of Japan-centric news collected and collated by long-time resident and media business professional Terrie Lloyd. AkihabaraNews is pleased to present Terrie’s learned perspective; we all could use another take on the news - here’s Terrie’s:

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In July 2013, Meditrek in Yokohama released the Meruru, which enables soft contact lenses to be inserted and removed without touching the fingers.

"Using soft contact lenses requires practice, and even after practicing, quite a lot of people find it difficult to insert and remove soft contact lenses. Some people fail at practicing, and stop using contact lenses, because they think it's too difficult. If there was a way to handle contact lenses easily, without hurting the eyes, it would be a great help to such people."

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This is the teamLabBody, co-developed by teamLab and Professor Sugamoto, in Osaka University's department of orthopedics. It is a 3D human anatomy app, based on the joints and natural range of movements of the human body.


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At the Terakawa Laboratory of Keio University's Department of Electronics and Electrical Engineering, research is being conducted on technology that explores and utilizes laser-material interaction to contribute to engineering, biotechnology, and medicine.

Here, keywords of the research are laser processing, micro- and nano-structure, and biomedical applications.

In particular, the laboratory is focused on processing with a femtosecond laser that enables them to achieve more precise processing than with lasers currently used broadly in industry.


Opect is an interface developed to enable surgeons to interact directly with images and data in an operating room environment. It has been developed at the Institute of Advanced Bioengineering and Sciences at the Tokyo Women's Medical University.

Graduate School of Frontier Sciences, The University of Tokyo and a Fujitsu research group have developed a simulator of a beating heart based on mathematically modeled operating principles of molecular motors. This research links molecules on the micro-level and the heart on the macro-level, and enables high-level predictions that can be used both for basic medical research and clinical practice.

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Job in Yokohama offers the PORTA series of portable X-ray units, with five models: Two for human applications and three for animal applications. The company started developing these products in 1997, and released the first one commercially in 2006. These X-ray units are compact, lightweight, and durable; they're sold mainly overseas. Currently, they're manufactured at Job's plant in Yokohama.

Osaka has long been the home to many pharmaceutical companies in japan. The NPO Biogrid Center Kansai, located in Grand Front Osaka (opened in 2013), partners with universities and pharmaceutical companies to lay the groundwork for in silico drug discovery using the K computer. In silico means leveraging new IT-based techniques for drug discovery in addition to traditional experiment-based techniques.

At the Matsumoto Lab of the Department of Biosciences and Informatics at Keio University, fundamental research relating to reproduction and the process of ontogeny of living organisms is being conducted.

The lab is focused particularly on a primitive animal called a planarian, which has a particularly high regenerative capability and diverse reproduction modes. Researchers there are trying to shed light on the basic mechanisms of living organisms by learning from planaria.

Suzuki & Citterio Laboratory designs and synthesizes functional dyes that change color or produce light by reacting with a specific substance. It develops nano-sized functional materials such as particles and polymers, and develops sensing technology that utilizes fluorescent and luminescent molecules, providing imaging inside the body which had been impossible until now.