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News Release

World’s First Commercialization of Optical-Fiber-Powered Camera
- The image transmission system can be built without a power cable -

March 13, 2014

Furukawa Electric Co., Ltd. succeeded in commercializing an optical-fiber-powered camera, which is powered and transmits images through optical fibers, for the first time in the world. This camera can send images to a remote area about 10km away from where the camera is by only connecting two optical fibers to it.

Since other equipment such as a power supply and transmission units do not need to be installed at the monitoring location, it can be used in case of disaster and for disaster-prevention purposes.

Background

Conventional image transmission systems need a power supply unit as well as a transmission cable. Transmission equipment needs to be installed as well. Furthermore, they are likely to be affected by power outages, lightning and disconnection caused by disasters. Especially in the event of natural disasters, the power supply is expected to be limited. Therefore, a simple and highly reliable system has been needed.

Details

Photo of optical-fiber-powered camera

Furukawa Electric succeeded in commercializing an optical-fiber-powered camera by using the optical fiber technologies it has developed for many years, for the first time in the world. This camera can supply 75mW of power and send images to a place 10km away with low loss.

Furukawa Electric has developed and commercialized optical fiber sensors such as optical fiber water level gauges, optical water immersion sensors and optical fiber rain gauges. One of the advantages of using an optical fiber for a sensing system is that a sensor that is installed outdoors and a control unit that is installed indoors are electrically insulated. For this commercialization, making use of this advantage, a power supply system that works via an optical fiber was developed.

Merits

The optical-fiber-powered camera can send images to a sensor in a remote area by only connecting two optical fibers to it. The optical fiber is of the SM type which is generally used for telecommunication. For the power supply and image transmission, 1,480nm- and 1,310nm-wavelength lights are used, respectively. This product achieved image transmission with low loss; when it sends images to a place 10km away from the camera location, the loss is only 3dB.

It is also an easy-to-install image transmission system. Power supply and image transmission units do not need to be installed at the monitoring point. Since it is unlikely to be affected by power outages in case of a disaster or lightning during heavy rain, it can be used as an emergency camera.

System configuration diagram
System configuration diagram

Future prospects

Furukawa Electric will make a proposal mainly for local governments that have proactively worked on disaster-prevention activities and make further efforts to develop a more advanced product (lower loss and longer distance) for industrial use. The sales target of this product until 2015 is 100 million yen.

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