Timely detection of the amount of cholesterol in the blood and the presence of atherosclerotic plaques can prevent heart disease. An international team of researchers has created a microscopic device the thickness of a human hair that can penetrate blood vessels to create a complete three-dimensional map of the circulatory system.
The miniature endoscope has a diameter of fewer than 0.5 millimeters with a protective sheath. It also includes a 3D printed lens with a side diameter of fewer than 0.13 millimeters. It is so small that it is impossible to see it with the naked eye. The device is able to move through the circulatory system, scanning it for the presence of fatty deposits.
The first successful trials have already been carried out in mice. The device has been proven to be effective and capable of providing quality images of virtually any part of the circulatory system. The researchers note that the device provides 5 times more accurate images than existing counterparts. Presumably, in the future, a miniature endoscope will be able to penetrate hard-to-reach places such as the cochlea and even the nervous system.