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Researchers Submit Patent Application, "3d Endoscope Device", for Approval

August 28, 2014



By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Politics & Government Week -- From Washington, D.C., VerticalNews journalists report that a patent application by the inventor Nishimura, Hisashi (Tokyo, JP), filed on April 9, 2014, was made available online on August 14, 2014.

The patent's assignee is Olympus Corporation.

News editors obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "A 3D endoscope device which forms images for left-eye and right-eye with parallax on a single MOS sensor to realize a stereoscopic view is known. From the relationship with a mounting space of the endoscopic scope, a system in which images for left-eye and right-eye are formed on a single imaging element with a light receiving surface having a substantially square shape is preferably used compared to a system which uses a plurality of imaging elements.

"When forming an image for left-eye and an image for right-eye on a single imaging element, in general, the image for left-eye (hereinafter referred to as 'ILE') and the image for right-eye (hereinafter referred to as 'IRE') are formed in left and right divided regions of the light receiving surface of the imaging element. However, when obtaining a high-definition image, it is necessary to generate a 16:9 horizontally long image. Accordingly, in the system in which the images are formed in the left and right divided regions of the light receiving surface of the imaging element having a substantially square shape, the image should be enlarged later in the horizontal direction with a large magnification, causing deterioration of image quality. As a means for solving this problem, Republished Japanese Translation No. 2004/106857 of the PCT International Publication for Patent Applications suggests that, as shown in FIG. 7, an ILE and an IRE are formed in upper and lower divided regions S11 and S12 of a light receiving surface of an imaging element."

As a supplement to the background information on this patent application, VerticalNews correspondents also obtained the inventor's summary information for this patent application: "The present invention has been accomplished in order to solve the above-described problem, and in a first aspect of the present invention, a 3D endoscope device which acquires an image for left-eye and an image for right-eye with parallax, the 3D endoscope device includes an endoscopic scope which has two optical systems that form light corresponding to the image for left-eye and the image for right-eye, and a MOS sensor on which a first light and a second light obtained through the two optical systems are formed separately on a single light receiving surface and which generates a video signal based on formed a first image and a second image, an image processor which performs image processing on the video signal, and an image display device which displays an image including the image for left-eye and the image for right-eye based on the video signal processed by the image processor, in which a line which connects a center of the first image and a center of the second image formed on the light receiving surface of the MOS sensor is orthogonal to a parallax direction, on the light receiving surface of the MOS sensor, a first region where the first image is formed is divided into a plurality of first divided regions, and a second region where the second image is formed is divided into a plurality of second divided regions, and when reading data constituting the video signal from the first region and the second region, the MOS sensor reads the data by alternately scanning the first divided region at a position corresponding to the image for left-eye and the second divided region at a position corresponding to the image for right-eye.

"According to a second aspect of the present invention, in the 3D endoscope device according to the first aspect of the present invention, the MOS sensor may read data by scanning the plurality of first divided regions and the plurality of second divided regions by raster scan, and a direction of the raster scan may be orthogonal to the parallax direction.

"According to a third aspect of the present invention, in the 3D endoscope device according to the first aspect of the present invention, the image processor may include an image processing unit which performs the image processing, a separation unit which separates the video signal into a video signal for left-eye corresponding to the image for left-eye and a video signal for right-eye corresponding to the image for right-eye, and an adjustment unit which rearranges an order of data constituting each of the video signal for left-eye and the video signal for right-eye so as to be the same as an order of data when data is read by scanning the plurality of first divided regions and the plurality of second divided regions by the raster scan in a same direction as the parallax direction.

"According to a fourth aspect of the present invention, in the 3D endoscope device according to the third aspect of the present invention, the image processor may include a control unit which instructs a calibration operation before a normal operation or during the normal operation, a displacement detection unit which detects an amount of displacement of the image for left-eye and the image for right-eye during the calibration operation, a correction amount calculation unit which calculates correction amounts of the image for left-eye and the image for right-eye during the calibration operation, and a correction unit which performs correction on the video signal according to the correction amounts of the image for left-eye and the image for right-eye.

"According to a fifth aspect of the present invention, in the 3D endoscope device according to the fourth aspect of the present invention, the displacement detection unit may detect the amount of displacement for at least one factor of brightness, white balance, size, rotation, and parallel movement, and the correction amount calculation unit may calculate a correction amount corresponding to the amount of displacement for each factor.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

"FIG. 1 is a configuration diagram showing the schematic configuration of a 3D endoscope device according to an embodiment of the present invention.

"FIG. 2 is a reference diagram showing a light receiving surface of a CMOS sensor in a 3D endoscope device according to an embodiment of the present invention.

"FIG. 3 is a reference diagram showing a form in which a CMOS sensor in a 3D endoscope device according to an embodiment of the present invention reads data constituting a video signal from respective pixels by scanning a light receiving surface.

"FIG. 4 is a block diagram showing the configuration of an image processor in a 3D endoscope device according to an embodiment of the present invention.

"FIG. 5 is a reference diagram showing a form of processing which is performed by a video signal separation unit and a video signal adjustment unit of an image processor in a 3D endoscope device according to an embodiment of the present invention.

"FIG. 6 is a reference diagram showing a form in which a CMOS sensor in a 3D endoscope device according to an embodiment of the present invention reads data constituting a video signal from respective pixels by scanning a light receiving surface.

"FIG. 7 is a reference diagram showing a form in which left and right images are formed on an imaging element.

"FIG. 8 is a reference diagram illustrating a difference in accumulation time by the characteristic of a rolling shutter of a MOS sensor."

For additional information on this patent application, see: Nishimura, Hisashi. 3d Endoscope Device. Filed April 9, 2014 and posted August 14, 2014. Patent URL: http://appft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-adv.html&r=5147&p=103&f=G&l=50&d=PG01&S1=20140807.PD.&OS=PD/20140807&RS=PD/20140807

Keywords for this news article include: Olympus Corporation.

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