One the many hidden gems we stumbled over at Computex 2010, the Panvista Borescope Package consists of a tiny fiber optic video camera, joined via a long flexible tube to a 3.5 inch hand-held color LCD monitor. The camera head is equipped with four Infrared LEDs, allowing it to see in the dark. Besides other useful applications, the camera can be used to peek inside a car’s engine via the spark plug hole.

Panvista makes a variety of fiber optic cameras, but the one in this particular package utilizes a 1/18th inch color sensor to deliver a 320X240 image. It has a waterproofness (is that a word?) rating of IP 65, meaning it’s dust-proof, and will stand up to being sprayed with a jet of water.

The LCD monitor has a viewing resolution of 320X420, records both moving images and stills, and stores up to 30 minutes of footage at 640X480 on a 32G SD memory card. It has a video line in and out, so you can output to a larger screen, or use it to watch something other than the camera’s feed. Power for the monitor and camera comes from a single 3.7V lithium-ion battery, or via an AC adapter.

Besides looking inside engines, Panvista also suggests their product could be used for inspecting walls, ducts, gears, welds and aircraft. Of course, all sorts of other possibilities come to mind, not all of which are legal, ethical or non-disgusting.

The Panvista Borescope Package is not yet listed on the company’s website, but it is expected to sell for US$140. Not too shabby, considering similar systems used to be in the thousands.

If you've dropped something in a hard to reach place, our recent write-up on the similar Snake Scope is also worth checking out.