When it comes to the medical industry, precision can save lives. As the world becomes more automated, we’re seeing leaps and bounds in innovative automation that’s helping to improve people’s lives and, in some cases, save them. Photonics encoder products and optical components are doing their part in the medical industry to bring precision, accuracy, and convenience to necessary tools.  


History in healthcare

Photonics has a longstanding history in the medical industry; One more prevalent than ever given the coronavirus pandemic. We can apply photonics encoder products (discs and scales) in several different ways within the medical industry.   

Traditional photonics applications include MRI and other imaging technologies. But this relationship has expanded in the last few years. At the 2020 SPIE Photonics West conference, experts in the industry highlighted new advancements and photonics applications. Experts in the industry discussed photonics in imaging, pharmaceuticals, and cell-based therapies. 

Overall, encoder products and optical components help make medical tools more personalized, accurate, and cost-effective. Which, in turn, can improve quality of life and care. 


Photonics encoder products and robotic surgery tools 

Maybe the most important advancement in the photonics-robotics timeline is the invention of robotic surgery tools. In 1985, the first robotic surgery occurred. During the procedure, photonics “guide[d] a robot as it inserted a needle into the brain for biopsy.” Since then, robotic surgery tools have become more precise, accurate, and user-friendly. And increased access to precision care has undoubtedly saved lives. 

Photo Solutions began shortly after this innovation took off. And we have worked with medical industry clients over the years to supply encoder products for precision tools. 


Examples from our clients


One such client is Intuitive, a robot-assisted systems company that makes high-end robotic surgery tools. Their Da Vinci system was “one of the first robotic-assisted systems cleared by the FDA for general laparoscopic surgery.” Their products, which use Photo Solution’s components, are in 67 countries and have been used in 8.5 million procedures worldwide. The Da Vinci and Ion tools are great examples of photonics-aided technology used to change lives. 

Auris Health  

Our client, Auris Health, creates medical devices that “empower physicians with precision and consistency of care across medical intervention.” The company’s lung cancer robotics, for instance, utilize Photo Solutions optical products to make lung cancer detection, diagnostics, and treatment more effective. Through their MONARCH Platform, Auris Health can achieve a “diagnostic yield of 53.7%.” 


Robotics and disability help 

The robotics industry is multi-faceted, and surgery tools are just one application. Therefore, photonic encoder products are, likewise, used in a variety of ways. Optical assemblies and optical elements help make robotics more precise and controlled. With sometimes delicate applications, the last thing a robotic tool needs is non-fluid and inaccurate movements. Robotic tools that provide disability help (like these replacing wheelchairs) need to be user-friendly and precise to provide access. 

Since the beginning, Photo Solutions has played a role in the efficiency of robotic advancements, one such being robotic disability tools. 


Example from our client

Kinova Robotics 

One of our longstanding clients, Kinova Robotics, began with the CEO helping family members living with muscular dystrophy. Based on his experience creating robotic arms to assist them, he started a company that combined “safe technologies with a human-centric purpose.” Today, Kinova Robotics helps people around the world with disabilities. Their ultra-lightweight robotic arms used encoder products to assist those without upper limb mobility. 


Photonics encoder products and ophthalmology 

Advancements in ophthalmology can improve lives for those living with eye disorders or discomfort. Given the detail-oriented and relatively small surface area of delicate eye surgeries, ophthalmology tools can become more precise with encoder products. Advancements like adaptive optics scanning light, image-guided ocular surgery, and photo-mediated ultrasound therapy are all aided by photonics. 

Ophthalmology applications include a majority of encoder products that we supply for the medical industry. From picture discs to light attenuating devices, our clients are using our products to provide better care. 


Examples from our clients

Frey Medical 

Frey Medical is a Poland-based customer that manufactures “innovative ophthalmic and optometric diagnostic devices.” The company distributes its products globally to the highest regulatory standards. Photo Solutions provides optical components for their devices. 


Zeiss is another one of our clients who works in the ophthalmology industry, focusing on aiding surgeries and refining therapies. They have over 100 years of experience in the field and have created products like Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) and Intrabeam that use optical components. Their glaucoma testing device, in particular, works with the help of Photo Solutions’ encoder products.


Looking forward: Photo Solutions’ future applications 

Our past and current clients utilize our photonics products in incredible ways. As the medical device industry grows, we look forward to future applications from diagnostics to surgical tools. 


Microfluidic devices play a big role in the medical field, despite their tiny size. The devices are “tiny chips that perform chemical analyses of extremely small volumes of fluids such as blood.” Global use of microfluidics has increased with the demand for low-volume sample analysis. With a microfluidic application, Photo Solutions could image microlithographic conductive traces on glass and glass substrates. 


Photonics encoder products and more for medical applications

For the past 30 years, we’ve seen big advancements in the medical field. Photonics’ ability to make low-cost approaches for diagnosing, treating, and preventing disease is something that we don’t take lightly. We are honored to provide photonics encoder products to companies making a difference in people’s lives.