The origin of the Olympus endoscope can be traced back to the development of the gastrocamera executed more than half a century ago. In 1949, a challenge to ‘manufacture a camera that can take pictures inside a patient’s stomach’ was introduced by a doctor at a branch hospital of Tokyo University at that time. The development work was an ongoing process of trial and error in every aspect. The developers resolved a number of technological problems one after another, including the manufacture of an ultra-small lens, development of strong light sources, a search for flexible tube materials for the main unit, acquisition of the best-suited film and thorough investigation of measures for preventing water leakage.

In 1950, the prototype ‘Gastrocamera GT-I’ was born out of the overcoming of these obstacles and became the world’s first gastrocamera. The camera lens is set at the distal end of the flexible tube, photos are taken by illuminating the miniature lamp through hand operations and the film is rewound by pulling it with a wire. This gastrocamera was a revolutionary medical apparatus that laid the foundation for the sophisticated fiber-optic cameras that play an active part of inspection and therapy in medical settings throughout the world today.

On exhibition (Reservation required)

Olympus Museum

Hours open:
Admission fee:
Days closed:
Saturdays, Sundays, public holidays, Ishikawa Technology Development Center’s holidays
2951 Ishikawa-machi, Hachioji-shi, Tokyo 192-8507 Technology Development Center Hachioji Olympus Museum
Take Nishitokyo Bus for Utsukidai via Owada or for Tokai University Hospital from JR Hachioji Sta./ Keio Hachioji Sta. to Kita-hachioji-eki-iriguchi stop

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