A typical capsule endoscope contains several major components: housing, optical window, LED array, optical lens, CMOS image sensor, RF transmitter, antenna, and power supply. Below is a general analysis of the purpose of each of the capsule endoscopy components.
Optical windows allow light from the integrated LEDs to illuminate the local environment. The enclosure protects the electrical components from any potentially damaging bodily fluids. Inside the capsule, an array of LEDs is placed around the camera lens. The number of LEDs varies by model, but is usually between 4-8. The first component of the imaging system is the optical lens. The lens is the means of focusing light onto the image sensor. Capsule endoscopes utilize a short focal length (the distance between the center of the lens and the image sensor), which provides a wide viewing angle.
CMOS sensors can contain multiple electronic components on a single chip, making them the first choice. The ability of CMOS chips to include functions such as exposure and timing control on the same chip makes them particularly advantageous over CCD (charge-coupled device) sensors, which require multiple separate chips to perform the same function. The integrated exposure control of the CMOS sensor allows it to better adapt to low light environments. The low power consumption of CMOS also makes it an excellent choice for this application.
The combination of an RF transmitter and antenna enables communication between the capsule endoscope and the receiver. The receiver is a device worn on the patient's waist, and since capsule endoscopes do not have onboard storage, images are collected. Two silver oxide batteries power the electrical system of the capsule endoscope.
The smaller the capsule, the higher the overall patient comfort. However, there are certain limitations to the size of the internal components. All currently available PillCam™ capsules have an outer diameter of 11mm. There is a difference in overall length, between 26mm and 32mm.
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