History of the Endoscope

History of the endoscope and the person that developed it

An endoscope is a medical instrument that aids the doctor in the examination of the interior of any hollow organ or cavity of the human body. Endoscope can be directly inserted into the organ and consists of different parts like a rigid or flexible tube, optical fiber system, lens and eyepiece. Philipp Bozzini developed the first endoscope in the year 1806 but this invention did not gain popularity till 1822 when William Beaumont used the equipment on a human body. A major turning point in the use of endoscope was the use of electric light, which was available only for external use, but was soon developed for internal use like the invention of hysteroscope by Charles David and further experiments by Hans Christian Jacobaeus.

Who are Wolf and STORZ?

Georg Wolf was a famous manufacturer of the rigid endoscope and was based in Berlin; he established his business in 1906 and in 1911, developed the Sussmann flexible gastroscope. Karl Storz set up business in 1945 and specialized in manufacturing endoscope for E.N.T. specialists. At that time, the technology used for making endoscope was quite primitive but Storz had a brilliant plan. He used bright and cold light, which, when introduced into the body cavity provided excellent visibility of the interiors and also allowed documentation of the cavity or organ with the help of image transmission. This technological advance by Storz, paved the way for modern endoscopy and a combination of his engineering vision along with advances made by Harold Hopkins, an optical engineer, revolutionized the field of medical optics.

Who is Harold Hopkins?

Harold Horace Hopkins was a world-renowned British physicist whose ‘wave theory of aberrations’ revolutionized the field of optical design especially that of medical optics. This theory provides key mathematical analysis, which is used by modern computers to create high quality lenses. His notable inventions include zoom lenses, coherent fiber optics and the rod-lens endoscope, which paved the way for keyhole surgery, a technique that has helped millions of people worldwide. Hopkins has received many prestigious accolades and awards and has been nominated twice for Nobel Prize. In 2009, his son Kelvin Hopkins throw the Hopkins’s building to the public, to bring together both biomedical and pharmaceutical research bellow one roof of the University. Today, Hopkins stands for pursuit of excellence in both teaching and research.

Name some major inventions and improvements from Harold Hopkins

One of Harold’s major inventions was the zoom lens, which he created after a request from BBC. These new lenses opened up a new arena for television images and also paved the way for outside broadcasts and modern visual media. The second among his notable inventions is the development of fiber optics, fiberscope and endoscope. Fiber optics and fiberscope have revolutionized the medical and manufacturing industry. A partnership between Hopkins and Karl Storz resulted in the invention of rod-lens endoscope, which provide an exceptional performance for endoscopy and paved the way for keyhole surgery. Hopkins was also able to bring about improvements to the laser disc and CD optical system by creating a mathematical analysis and calculated geometrical method, which played an immense role in bringing down the cost of CD players.

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