Topcon has been granted a patent for a scanning imaging apparatus that applies optical scans to a sample to acquire data. The apparatus includes a scanner, a scan controller, a movement unit, a movement controller, and an image constructing unit. The scan controller and movement controller work in parallel to control the scanner and movement unit, respectively, so that cycles in pattern scans cross each other at least once. The image constructing unit then constructs an image based on the acquired data. GlobalData’s report on Topcon gives a 360-degree view of the company including its patenting strategy. Buy the report here.

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According to GlobalData’s company profile on Topcon, Eye-tracking wearables was a key innovation area identified from patents. Topcon's grant share as of September 2023 was 40%. Grant share is based on the ratio of number of grants to total number of patents.

Scanning imaging apparatus with overlapping pattern scans

Source: United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Credit: Topcon Corp

A recently granted patent (Publication Number: US11759104B2) describes a scanning imaging apparatus that utilizes a combination of optical scanning and movement control to acquire data and construct images. The apparatus includes a scanner that applies an optical scan to a sample, a scan controller, a movement unit, a movement controller, and an image constructing unit.

The scan controller, which includes a first processor, controls the scanner to sequentially apply a series of pattern scans to the sample. Each pattern scan follows a predetermined two-dimensional pattern consisting of cycles. The movement unit, which can be a liquid crystal display (LCD), an optical scanner, or a movement mechanism, is responsible for moving the scan area corresponding to the two-dimensional pattern and the sample. The movement controller, with a second processor, controls the movement unit in parallel with the scan controller. This ensures that the cycles in different pattern scans cross each other at least at one point, with each scan area being different from the others.

The image constructing unit, with a third processor, constructs an image based on the data acquired by the scanner under the control of both the scan controller and the movement controller. The scan controller and the movement controller work in parallel, ensuring that the cycles in each pattern scan cross each other at least at one point.

Additional features of the scanning imaging apparatus include a first deflector in the scanner that deflects light in different directions, allowing the scan controller to apply pattern scans with varying deflection directions. The sample can be a living eye, and the movement unit includes a fixation light projector that can change the projection direction of the fixation light. The movement unit may also include a second deflector to change the deflection direction of the light guided by the scanner. Alternatively, a movement mechanism can be used to move at least part of the scanner with respect to the sample.

The movement controller can control the movement unit to relatively move the scan area and the sample along a predetermined path, such as a closed circular path. The movement can be continuous or stepwise, and the cycles in different scans can cross each other at multiple points.

Overall, this scanning imaging apparatus combines optical scanning and movement control to acquire data and construct images, offering potential applications in various fields, including medical imaging.

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GlobalData, the leading provider of industry intelligence, provided the underlying data, research, and analysis used to produce this article.

GlobalData Patent Analytics tracks bibliographic data, legal events data, point in time patent ownerships, and backward and forward citations from global patenting offices. Textual analysis and official patent classifications are used to group patents into key thematic areas and link them to specific companies across the world’s largest industries.