8K technology changes the medical world: creating another dimension of “seeing what could not be seen before”

“Application of 8K technology to advanced medical care”
(inside of a paprika is displayed on 8K monitor at Sharp booth in “CEATEC JAPAN 2017”)

Last year, we have released many information regarding 8K. Among them was a news release announced on September 29 in Japan regarding the application of 8K image monitor in medical care with 8K rigid endoscope system. This announcement must have delivered a different surprise as it is a completely different application from LCD TVs in your living room, and we were able to demonstrate how 8K technology is spreading throughout the world.

In medical institutions, image monitors are used in surgery rooms, as often depicted in TV dramas. We asked Mr. Yoshida at our Corporate Research & Development Business Unit in charge of promoting 8K technology to the society about how 8K image monitors will be utilized in such scenes.


Mr. Yoshida of Corporate Research & Development Business Unit

-Why did 8K image monitor start to be used in medical institutions?

(Yoshida) I think that it was about ten years ago from now. Dr. Toshio Chiba, chairman of the Medical Imaging Consortium (MIC), was conducting a research and development of high-definition rigid endoscopes at National Center for Child Health and Development, and he saw a research of Super Hi-Vision (former phrase of 8K) being conducted at Science & Technology Research Laboratories of NHK (Setagaya, Tokyo). We started to collaborate by lending displays which were jointly developed by NHK and Sharp to him and his research team.

“8K rigid endoscope system” was completed by joint development with this consortium. For commercialization, Kairos Co., Ltd. was established in 2016 and the endoscope systems have begun to be installed in medical institutions such as to university hospitals.


The world’s first 85-inch 8K compatible LCD display
(NHK Broadcasting Technology Laboratory on May 19, 2011)

– The long-dreamed commercialization and utilization of an 8K rigid endoscope system is now realized.
How was the stakeholders’ reaction to our exhibition at Sharp booth in “CEATEC JAPAN 2017” held in October last year?

(Yoshida) It took us years to develop, but our efforts paid off. People compared our products with full-HD and 4K monitors used in the medical institutions, and they were surprised and excited. We received comments such as “I can see what I could not see before,” “I can see even the fine blood vessels and nerves,” and ” I can see the color of blood clearly.”


– For home-use TVs, the focus seems to be placed on resolution and vivid color tones. What is the specification required for monitors in medical institutions?

(Yoshida) Since the monitors are used to check the condition of the inside of human bodies, it is important that the original colors are reproduced faithfully. The color of red blood is not merely red: their colors vary depending on locations and status of blood vessels. Color tones have to be displayed clearly at a level that is equivalent to the actual blood or more natural.


– It can be said that image technologies Sharp has been developing for pursuing the reproduction of natural colors are applied to this 8K monitor.
Please tell us what you expect from the endoscope system with 8K technology.

(Yoshida) Even if the system is revolutionary, it would be meaningless if its introduction does not proceed because of high price. For many doctors and patients, we must aim to make the system more popular with speed.

Sharp’s 8K technology born and raised in Tenri has shifted from a research and development phase to “society implementation” phase for serving the society. We will collaborate with partners in various fields to expand our 8K technology, which has started with 8K LCD displays, to other industries. The 8K rigid endoscope system is the first step, and we plan to expand to factories, infrastructure, and so on in the future. Technology has a timing of when it is suit for commercializing, and for 8K, it is now. We are working now toward advancing 8K society implementation by collaborating with stakeholders.


Sharp Development Center where R & D headquarter is located (Tenri, Nara)
where many technologies are developed.


We hope that our 8K technology will be utilized in many scenes, such as medical schools where next generations of doctors are born, and medical technology development will advance.

Our next entry will introduce you how the 8K system is actually used in medical facilities.

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