The Future To Be Brought by “The World’s First” 8K Rigid Endoscope System -Introducing 8K Image Monitor into Medical Field-

We believe that a variety of new business will be created by establishing “8K ecosystem(*1)”, improving high definition of displays and dramatically expanding the range of application. Under this concept, we have begun delivering the world’s first “8K image monitor” in November 2017 to the medical field with an 8K rigid endoscope(*2) system developed recently by Kairos Co., Ltd. We have interviewed the person in charge at Kairos Co., Ltd. about how the 8K rigid endoscope system is utilized in the medical field and what kind of merit is brought by the new system.

*1 “8K Ecosystem” is our unique strategy aimed at creating buds of new industries one after another with 8K ultra high definition technology as the core in order to create social innovation.
*2 Rigid endoscope: An endoscope fitted with lens at both ends of the tube. Cystoscopes, thoracoscopes, laparoscopes are types of endoscopes.


8K rigid endoscope system with Sharp 70-inch 8K image monitor (right)


– How will a surgery change with the introduction of “8K rigid endoscope system”?


Professor Toshio Chiba, CEO of Kairos Co., Ltd.

Professor Chiba) Doctors are surprised by the compact and lightweight size of the system as it is so easy to handle with one hand, and ultra-high-definition images and textures displayed on the 8K image monitor. 8K technology has made it possible to see what we have not been able to see before. The resolution of 8K corresponds to visual acuity of 4.27(*3) when converted to human eyesight, and you can see “high quality image of a level that can not be reached by human eyes” in real time. Therefore, I believe that more advanced and safe surgery will be possible.

*3 When the conventional high definition (2 K) is taken as equivalent to visual acuity of 1.07.

With the introduction of this “8K rigid endoscope system”, we can switch from laparotomy surgery using conventional rigid endoscope system, to endoscopic surgery which is expected to reduce the burden and risk to the patient’s body.


Difference between endoscopic (rigid endoscopic) surgery and laparotomy surgery


(Professor Chiba) Laparotomy surgery is performed by cutting the abdominal wall to view the affected part directly. Thus, the burden on the patient becomes greater. Also, it takes more time to recover after surgery.

Endoscopic surgery, on the other hand, opens several small holes in the patient’s abdominal wall to insert endoscopes and surgical instruments, and the doctor views the affected part displayed on the image monitor from the endoscope. Since each incision is small with laparotomy surgery, the burden on the patient is small and recovery from surgery takes less time. As a result, patients will be able to leave hospitals earlier.


Image of 8K endoscopic surgery


– It benefits the patients too if they can leave the hospital earlier. What kind of benefits do doctors receive with this technology?

(Professor Chiba) There are three major advantages in medical aspects by adopting 8K in endoscopic surgery.

The first advantage is “wider surgical space”. With an 8K endoscope, even if the surgical field (the part to be operated on) is shot from a slightly distant position, clear images can be obtained with zooming. Therefore, a wider surgical space can be secured around the affected part, and interference of the endoscope to surgical instruments and the endoscope can be avoided. Also, since it enables to shoot a wider range with high resolution, you will not miss any bleeding in the surrounding areas.


Operational space expands in 8K endoscopic surgery


Operational space expands in 8K endoscopic surgery


(Professor Chiba) The second merit is that by bringing the 8K endoscope closer to the operative field, it makes it easier to distinguish minute blood vessels, lymph vessels, nerves, etc, compared with conventional definition images. The boundary between cancer tissue and healthy tissue will be displayed clearer with 8K endoscope.


Image of boundary between normal cells and cancer cells.


(Professor Chiba) In addition, the possibility of surgery with the thinnest surgical thread that can hardly be seen with the naked eye can be increased.

The third advantage is that the quality of endoscopic medical applications is expected to improve. By transmitting high definition and realistic images in real time to remote areas and by viewing on a large screen 8K image monitor, it can be applied to telemedicine and medical education. The surgical video of a leading surgeon recorded with 8K video can be used for education and research of young doctors as well.


So 8K brings breakthrough advances in medical care to support our better living as well. Next, how about merit from the point of medical service?

(Professor Chiba) There are largely three merits.

First, it is expected that the efficiency of the surgery will increase, leading to shorter time required per operation and enabling more cases of operations to be carried out.

Second is patients are expected to cure and leave the hospitals earlier, enabling hospitals to examine more patients.

Third, since it is possible to see the surgical procedure repeatedly with 8K high-definition image, it will support young doctors to acquire skills faster. In addition, the high visibility of operations will support doctors to carry out operations on a longer term, eventually leading to a substantial increase in the number of endoscopic surgeons.


– What kind of development is expected in the future?

(Professor Chiba) In addition to surgery, it may be applied to an automatic medical system combined with AI. Also, we are studying to incorporate two cameras into the 8K endoscope to convert the image to 3D. By creating 3D images, I expect that the safety of surgery will be greatly improved with 3D.


– Thank you very much.

8K technology enables difficult and safer surgery that was not possible before and changes our lives more secure, safe, and efficient. Learning the various merits of the 8K rigid endoscope system, I ccould understand the expectations toward 8K is growing higher, and at the same time, I could see our 8K image monitor is contributing to this development as well. Learning medical care in various fields are expected to further evolve, I am convinced that the importance of 8K technology will continue to grow.


Related videos: A state of the 8K endoscope demo showing the inside of paprika


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