(Image: Furukawa Electric)
Furukawa Electric (Tokyo, Japan) has commercialized a camera that is powered by light transmitted through a single-mode optical fiber; the camera sends its image info back through a second optical fiber that follows the same path as the light-power-providing fiber. The camera can be separated from its power-source/data-receiver unit by up to 10 km, connected only by the two optical fibers. The camera is intended to be used in case of disaster and for disaster-prevention purposes.
Conventional electrically connected image-transmission systems are likely to be affected by power outages, lightning, and disconnection caused by disasters. Therefore, a simple and highly reliable system is needed, says Furukawa. The optical fiber powering the company's new camera supplies 75 mW of power to the unit with a 3 dB loss over a 10 km distance. For the power supply and image transmission, light at 1480 nm and 1310 nm wavelengths is used, respectively.
One of the advantages of using an optical fiber for a sensing system is that a sensor installed outdoors and a control unit installed indoors are electrically insulated from one another. Furukawa Electric has previously developed and commercialized optical fiber sensors such as optical-fiber water-level gauges, optical water-immersion sensors, and optical-fiber rain gauges.
Furukawa Electric says it will come up with a proposal mainly intended for local (Japanese) areas that have proactively worked on disaster-prevention activities, and at the same time attempt to develop a more advanced product (lower loss and longer distance) for industrial use. Furukawa says its sales target for this product is 100 million yen between now and 2015.