Video Borescopes are getting more and more popular. They replace optical rigid and flexible borescopes, which stem from the first endoscope in 1853.
Video borescopes (or videoscopes) have many advantages. Videoscopes are not so fragile and have a higher resolution than flexible optical borescopes, which is a very important issue at remote visual inspection. Contrary to optical borescopes, videoscopes possess recording feature, and additional bulky gadgets for inspection recording are unnecessary.
Rigid video borescopes can be readily used for non-destructive testing instead of optical rigid borescopes. Such non-destructive testing generally includes vertical or lateral inspections (turbines of planes, cylinders in car engines, barrels) through confined access in confined areas. Metallic insertion probes of rigid videoscopes reduce damages of the system during inspection.
Flexible videoscopes seem very attractive in areas, which require more freedom during remote inspection, e.g. bypassing corners or bends. There are video borescopes with both polyurethane, and stronger, stainless steel braiding, and even the strongest braiding – tungsten. Recently videoscopes with non-conductive braiding appeared in the market (IRIS), which meet modern industrial demands and are used in hazardous areas, where static electricity should be excluded.
New rigid video borescopes, combine advantages of rigid and flexible borescopes. Heron-A videoscopes have articulated tip and support diverse remote visual inspections. Though rigid video borescopes still have some limitations, and main one is their limited length (generally no more than 70 cm) contrary to flexible videoscopes with length up to 30 meters.