Dr. Hopkins to create new instruments for performing gastroscopies.
Between 1954 and 1970, three inventions introduced by Dr. Hopkins changed the face of endoscopy and paved the way for minimally invasive surgery. First came the flexible light guide made up of bundles of glass fibres, each coated with glass of a different refractive index, along which light of unlimited brightness could be guided into any body cavity. This innovation addressed the problem of a century of rigid metal tubes that were used as endoscopes. The second advance was Dr. Hopkins' revolutionary telescope. Instead of using tiny glasses separated by spaces of air, he used air lenses separated by rods of glass. Needing no tubular metal to keep the lenses apart, the entire width of the telescope was available for the transmission of light. Compared with pre-war systems, Dr. Hopkins' system provided a total light transmission that was 80 times better. Furthermore, because the rods could be held steady, it was possible to grind and coat their surfaces to a new order of accuracy and the rod-lens telescopes had the precision of a microscope. The powerfully illuminated images amazed the older generation of endoscopists.