Edge computing power allows video borescopes to do more for visual inspectors.

The Evolution of Powerful Video Borescopes


Tom Danvers (Global Aerospace Product Manager) and Sheldon McCrackin (Senior Software Manager) weigh in on how more powerful video borescopes improve visual inspections.

5 min read

Inspectors in various industries have been using video borescopes for decades to look inside assets to make critical decisions about operability and maintenance requirements. At conception, the video borescope provided lighting and a live video feed of the scene encountered. As technology advanced, inspectors began leveraging advanced image processing and measurement techniques to increase probability of detection and quantify indications found.

Current video borescopes are capable of assisting the inspector in new ways, such as running analytics on the edge to increase probability of detection and connecting to the cloud for automated data management. In the modern video borescope, what’s “under the hood” truly matters.

In the aerospace sector, during an aircraft engine inspection, an inspector will demand the video borescope to:

  • Generate high definition (HD) quality images
  • Record HD video
  • Generate a 3D representation of the asset and perform accurate measurements
  • Stitch multiple 3D representations together to form a composite image of the scene
  • Stream video and provide control of the video borescope from an iOS or Android device
  • Count blades
  • Analyze scene for defects
  • Connect to local wi-fi hotspot and send images and videos to the cloud

All of this: at the same time!

Powerful video borescopes make visual inspections of aircrafts quicker

Measurement Improvements

Measurement is non-negotiable for many industrial in-situ visual inspection applications. Quantifying the size and location of defects is needed for the highly trained and experienced inspectors to make vital decisions that determine the serviceability of the asset. The value of trustworthy, reliable, and indeed user-friendly measurement capability cannot be underestimated. Real3D Phase Measurement uses patented structured light technology enabling inspectors to locate, measure, and analyze an indication using the same tip optic. The fully surfaced point cloud enables precise cursor location for accurate results. The responsiveness and speed of measurement calculations are directly related to processing power on board the video borescope.

Better Probability of Detection (POD)

Detection of defects, and probability of finding them all, previously relied on the eyes of the inspector alone. Modern video borescopes offer analytics that turn the video borescope into a second set of eyes during the inspection to flag the user when a possible defect is detected. Over 8000 images were used to train one Assisted Defect Recognition (ADR) model, Gas Power Assist, for the Mentor Visual iQ VideoProbe to recognize several different defect types on airfoils, combustion liners and shroud liners within a gas turbine. The onboard processor analyzes individual frames from the live video stream in real-time for the presence of defects and the hardware must support the analytic to run continuously in the background without impacting the overall performance.

Blade Counter Analytic
Development of New Applications

Another application of analytics is for a critical, but mundane, aspect of engine inspection: counting blades. A simple and elegant solution is provided in a product that recognizes the features of a blade passing through a scene to automatically count the blades for you to ensure the data collected is associated to the correct location within the asset. This analytic must also run, in parallel with the defect detector, whilst making measurements and automatically saving the same data files to the cloud.

In addition to the above, a video borescope must always provide uninterrupted video feed to the screen at 60 frames per second with means to capture data in the form of still images or video files. As technology advances and additional capabilities are added, the system must be designed and optimized to operate on the edge. This includes considering factors such as thermal management, power consumption, and many others.

Why Stronger Video Borescopes?

Video borescopes are required to manage and operate highly complex and often safety critical assets distributed around the globe. The modern video borescope is truly remarkable in meeting the ever-increasing demands of inspectors with innovative software solutions, running on battery on the tarmac, and the power under the hood to execute them all at once.


The correct position to determine the image quality indicators (IQIs)