Canon announced today that it bought Canadian medical imaging tech company Redlen Technologies (via blah) for more than a quarter billion dollars. While that is an interesting show of prioritization of the firm’s efforts to diversify from camera and office technology markets, the purchase also shows the potential to leverage camera tech back toward med tech.
Redlen makes sensors that convert the x-rays coming from CT scanners directly to electrical signals, much like a camera sensor converts visible light to signals via the camera sensor and the analog-to-digital converters. Other sensor makers first convert x-rays to visible light and then use a more traditional photosensor, adding a step to the process, and as a result, adding noise to the image.
This is particularly interesting because the simplified Redlen process can use less radiation generally, but also because that lends itself to some of Canon’s existing camera tech. Canon’s camera tracking technology could be used to more intelligently spray those x-rays where a system recognizes certain body structures based on deep learning. Many times, there is no need to spray x-rays across the entire section of exposed patient.
There is no indication from Canon that it is intending on pushing camera technology over to the med tech realm, but this acquisition does show that the worlds are related enough that investment in one may indeed help the other.