This may not be a total fit for the electrical engineering exchange, but its a pretty specific hardware related technical question.

I am interested in multiplexing visible light optical fiber signals. It would actually be endoscopes (not for medical use) that are multiplexed back to a single camera. Each endoscope would get a chance to relay an analog image back to the camera before the next one.

Are there such switches in existence? When I search for optical switches, the results are not surprisingly all about digital optical switches.

A method that would work would be a mirror that is driven by a stepper motor to align the path of a single endoscope

  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ It's probably easier (and cheaper!) to put a camera on each endoscope and multiplex the resulting video signals. \$\endgroup\$
    – Dave Tweed
    Commented Sep 23, 2012 at 20:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ I second Mr Tweed's comment. Cameras of suitable capability for this are so plentiful and cheap these days that this should be the method of choice. Goodness - One wouldn't even need to multiplex video signals. Use USB cameras instead and "mux" them via a USB hub to a PC to control the camera sequencing and video snapshot storage. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 23, 2012 at 20:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ No. Expense of equipment is not a factor. Total power consumption is. I cannot use a usb camera. We use a single IP camera which is tethered to a industrial grade modem. Fibre is used to get into explosive environments. \$\endgroup\$
    – michael
    Commented Sep 26, 2012 at 20:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ Can you offer more details on the optical source specs and destination specs? A multiple fiber Mux alignment with inversion would seem to be difficult although there are rotating laser reflectors, I believe they are mounted on granite for accuracy. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 24, 2012 at 18:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ Why is it not possible to use standard coaxial video cable? How does fiber reduce the risk of EOS sparks? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 24, 2012 at 18:39

1 Answer 1


Unless your application requires a very specialized (i.e. expensive) CCD, @Dave's answer regarding one camera per fiber and elextrical/software multiplexing is likely the ideal solution.

Another approach would be to use a faceted panospheric mirror (one facet per endoscope) to allow a single image sensor to view all endoscopes simultaneously without the need for moving parts or shutters, though with attendant distortion and resolution issues.

  • \$\begingroup\$ The degradation in resolution is a serious problem. \$\endgroup\$
    – michael
    Commented Sep 26, 2012 at 20:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ Is there a reason that one camera per fiber won't work? If cost isn't an issue, use multiple IP cameras and simply enable/disable them via TCP/IP to selectively return images from each endoscope while managing to your upstream bandwidth limitations. \$\endgroup\$
    – HikeOnPast
    Commented Sep 27, 2012 at 3:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ True, but its difficult to manage power (easier to have one on all the time). Also, total space is an issue. \$\endgroup\$
    – michael
    Commented Sep 27, 2012 at 19:20

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.