A videoscope is a borescope with a video camera at the tip of an insertion probe and a monitor to visualize the inspection. The tip contains also generally LED light source. The insertion probe contains electrical wires and special steel wires to control the tip if the device is articulated. It is an inspection tool with a flexible optical tube to insert into bores, pipes, holes and cavities for visual inspection. The video image is relayed from the distal tip and focusable lens assembly back to the display via internal wiring. This is unlike a traditional rigid and flexible. Rigid one is use hard optical relay components to transfer the image from the tip to an eyepiece and flexible one is use coherent image fiberoptics to relay the image to one's eye through an eyepiece. The image quality of a videoscope is superior to a fiberscope and could be compared to that of a high-end Video Camcorder.
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Videoscopes are normally 10 mm or less in diameter and come in lengths up to 15 m (50 ft). Several integral features include the insertion probe section, the articulated tip, articulation controls (up down left right) on the control handle, lighting bundle, high intensity external light source and cable interface with outputs to the display (LCD or CRT) and external media recording device such as computer hard disk or compact flash card. Newer videoscope also make use of USB thumbdrive or SD card for storage. The system normally will record either live video or still photos.
If have articulated function will include stainless steel or even tungsten braiding of insertion tube, which guards electrical wiring and control wires from damage. Tungsten braiding is twice more durable than steel braiding and often used in premium systems.
Today customers are offered with a wide range of scopes from simple ones with PVC covered flexible probes to highly efficient ones with stereo measuring ability, four-way articulation, a number of sensors, tungsten sheathing and high resolution video cameras.
Flexible videoscope tips may be bent back and forth using a control in the handpiece, which allows changes to view angle. A two-way articulated tip can be manipulated and implies single plane of articulation. A four-way articulated tip can be manipulated in two plane articulation.
One important application for the videoscope is in nondestructive testing of materials and components. Technicians may want to be able to inspect internal surfaces and other features of a product without causing damage. The videoscope allows them to do this, complete with magnifying heads to provide a very high level of detail. This can allow operators to spot cracks, bubbles, and other flaws that might lead to failure or other problems with the equipment in the future.
Similar technology is also used in medical imaging. Doctors can utilize such equipment to look inside their patients with a minimum of disruption. The videoscope limits the risk of damages like perforations and provides a very high quality image of internal structures, tumors, and other subjects of interest inside the body. This may allow a doctor to skip potentially invasive diagnostic testing like exploratory surgery or biopsy.
The technology is one solution to creating a flexible scope. (The other type, fiberscopes, use optical fiber for image transmission.) Because both of these designs use markedly different components than rigid one, they are considerably more expensive and are regarded as "higher end" products.
Videoscopes are among the latest in visual inspection technology, and since their introduction to the wider market, many manufacturers have come up with their own versions of it. While fiberscopes are still being widely used, many users now prefer to use videoscopes as they are able to bring them better results.