Archive: Jun 2022

Meet Eric Storm, Principle Assembly Technician

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Eric Storm

Eric Storm, our Principle Assembly Technician, has been with us since early 2019. He’s personally worked through most of our customer’s challenges to solve fixturing and alignment problems with those tricky < 2mm optical assemblies required in robotic surgical units. 

How Eric Became a Gray Optics Team Member

Dan Gray and Ted McHenry were lucky to have worked with Eric at a past endeavor and pulled him along to the new team in Portland, ME. With some reservations, but knowing that Dan and Ted were dedicated to their vision, Eric made the switch and has continued to play a key part in the assembly and testing process. Eric has had to creatively address working with prototypes through tree-production builds of mini-micro sizing with multiple lens factors.

“GO is different from other places I have worked, as everybody here has a voice and is listened to,” says Storm. “Each project is unique and has its own set of challenges in terms of filtering and process – and that makes it fun!”

Outside of Work, Means Literally – Outside

Eric is also an accomplished landscape photographer and specializes in capturing elemental coastal sunrises and nature in Maine. His portfolio may be viewed on Facebook:

What Does an Optical Engineer Do?

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In physics, optics is the study of light, a broad field of research and engineering that includes aspects like rays, waves, and photons. Although the term “optics” is often associated with sight, optical engineers focus more on the behavior, properties, and creation of light. Here we’ll go into more detail about what optical engineers do and what they make, which includes custom lenses for optical assemblies.

What Do Optical Engineers Do?

Optical engineers research and develop new technologies related to light, with applications in industries like medicine and manufacturing. An optical engineer can work in medical research, physics labs, or other research labs. The work requires highly skilled knowledge of how light works and regular use of high-tech lasers, mirrors, lenses, LEDs, microscopes, displays, photo detectors, computers, and specialized software.

Professional optical engineers tend to be very involved in the development of new biomedical or industrial technologies. They develop, design, prototype, and test new optical devices, all of which require a high level of understanding of how end-users will use certain products.

Like other scientific fields, optical engineering constantly evolves as applications expand to other industries. Optical engineers must stay up-to-date on these changes by reading relevant scientific journals, attending seminars, and otherwise educating themselves on the latest developments.

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What Do Optical Engineers Make?

Optical engineers must be experts in all areas within optics to develop new lasers, microscopes, endoscopes, 3D printers, and other types of products. Engineers rely on computers for design, research, simulation, and evaluation of new technologies. The following are the most common components designed or used in optical systems :

  • Lasers: “Laser” is an acronym for “Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation.” Lasers can be found in a variety of applications, such as laser cutting, laser eye surgery, laser printers, laser scanners, and laser imaging systems.
  • Lenses: Optical engineers also create lenses for both cameras and correcting vision. Lenses transmit and refract light beam to produce a certain image.
  • Mirrors: Mirrors play an important role in many optical systems, such as laser scanners, microscopes, and 3D printers, so optical engineers are frequently involved in engineering these types of devices..
  • Cameras: Cameras capture light and convert them to a digital signal; therefore, precise optical designs are required. Optical engineers utilize cameras for research and design lenses to form images for biomedical and industrial use.

How to Create a Custom Lens

At Gray Optics, we specialize in making custom lenses for medical, life science, and industrial manufacturing applications. We take a collaborative approach with clients, ensuring that they receive a lens design that works for them. We utilize the following process to achieve this.

  1. Create a specification or requirement list: Provide us with the basic specifications that your lens needs. We will start designing around your specs and requirements.
  2. Develop initial design concept: Designs go through multiple reviews and improvements to make sure the lens will fulfill its intended purpose.
  3. Create a final design: After the final round of implemented reviews, the design is no longer conceptual and is in its final phase.
  4. Develop coating requirements: Coatings and filters are additional customizable aspects that can be applied to the final lens design. This can range from infrared (IR) filters, bandpass filters, and anti-reflective (AR) coatings. Coatings allow you to have a lens designed for specific wavelengths, for minimizing stray light, or for other forms of optimization.
  5. Develop manufacturing tolerances and drawings: Lastly, we explore considerations for production. This can include environmental testing, reliability quality checks, and more.

Advanced Optical Engineering With Gray Optics

At Gray Optics, our optical engineers consider many variables when designing custom lenses. Everyone on our team has a deep understanding of how complex the optical system design process can be. Whether you need a complex optical assembly or a mass-produced standard optical product, we can help you achieve your project objectives. To learn more about how we can serve you, contact us today.

What Are Endoscopic Cameras?

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One of the most applied imaging methods in medicine is endoscopy, and endoscopic cameras are one of the most technical demanding devices. These systems allow medical practitioners to examine and inspect the interior of bodily organs, joints, or cavities for diagnosis and treatment purposes.

At Gray Optics, we specialize in solving complex optical, mechanical, and system-level problems for our clients. Our product engineering team consists of highly skilled engineers and program managers with advanced degrees and years of product development experience, allowing them to develop endoscopy cameras with superior image quality.

What Are Endoscopic Cameras?

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An endoscopic camera is a device used to view, capture and record videos in small, hard-to-reach places of the human body with limited to no visibility. It allows doctors to visualize the surgery or diagnostic procedure on a larger medical-grade screen, like a TV display, a computer monitor, or a stereoscopic viewing console.

Most modern endoscope camera modules utilize “chip-on-tip” technology where the lens and imaging electronics are combined into a miniature package located at the end of the device. Endoscopic cameras illuminate the anatomical area through fiber optics or LEDs on the tip and the image signal is transferred out from the camera on an electrical cable. The light source must provide sufficient brightness and illuminate angle to ensure true-color properties and brilliant image presentation to aid medical professionals in their diagnoses and procedures.

What Are Different Types of Endoscopes?

There are many types of endoscopes used for diagnostic, preventative and surgical applications:

  • Cystoscope: This is used to study the inside of the bladder, urethra, urinary tract, and prostate (in men) and is often inserted through the urethra.
  • Laryngoscope: This is an endoscope used to view the larynx or the voice box and is inserted through the mouth.
  • Otoscope: The otoscope is designed for visual examination of the eardrum and the passage of the outer ear.
  • Gastroscope: This is used to check the upper part of the digestive system, which includes the inside of your throat, food pipe (esophagus), and stomach.
  • Laparoscope: A laparoscope is inserted through the abdomen to study the stomach, liver, abdominal organs, and female reproductive organs such as the fallopian tubes, uterus, and ovaries.
  • Arthroscope: An arthroscope is an endoscope that’s inserted into the joint through a small incision near the site.
  • Duodenoscope: This is a long flexible endoscope inserted through the mouth to the top of the small intestine (duodenum).

Applications of Endoscopic Cameras

Different types of endoscopic cameras are used for different areas of the body. Endoscope optics are often used to examine the following parts of the body, including:

  • Esophagus: Gastroscopy
  • Colon: Colonoscopy
  • Ears: Otoscopy
  • Nose: Nasal endoscopy
  • Throat: Upper GI endoscopy
  • Stomach: Esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD)
  • Heart: Cardiopulmonary endoscopy
  • Urinary tract: Cystoscopy
  • Joints: Arthroscopy

Endoscopic cameras play a crucial role in aiding medical professionals in diagnosing various conditions by close examination of internal organs and body structures. At Gray Optics, we provide endoscopic cameras that make visual diagnostic procedures and surgery even more easy and procedures more effective. Our highly experienced team of engineers and program managers can design and develop a wide range of endoscopic optics that meet your unique requirements.

Whether you need an endoscope for 3D robotic surgery, a new Raman or NIR spectroscopy device for tumor identification and surgical resection, a microscope platform for wide FOV, a new high laser power industrial machine tool, or help to develop a high-resolution fluorescence imaging for cell analysis, you can count on Gray Optics to deliver. Contact us today to request a quote!