Advances in sensing technology are creating new application areas, and making existing applications more effective and user friendly. In addition to increases sensitivity and range, sensors are getting smaller, and frequently more cost effective.
A good example is the gastric camera used by doctors to visually examine a patients stomach for possible ulcers, cancer, or other serious conditions.
Until recently, a fiber optic camera probe was passed down the patients throat. This was uncomfortable to say the least, required the use of sedation, and presented considerable risk.
However, advances in the camera and probe technology has resulted in a new diagnostic system that is so small, and so flexible, that it can be passed through one of the patients nostrils avoiding the throat, tongue, and choking reflexes.
The need for sedation, and it's associated risk is minimized, and the procedure, although it still is far from fun, is much less invasive and more comfortable for the patient, and the doctor.
In fact, the patient often stays totally concious during the examination, can observe the camera view as the probe explores internally, and can chat with the doctor.
Older and much larger probe on the left with the new small and more flexible probe shown to the right.
-- Posted using the Robots Dreams iPhone.