Monday, February 15, 2010

High Resolution Stills from High Speed Video - Enough to Create a Company?

Physorg.com quotes University of Oxford's Dr. Peter Kohl saying "Dr Gil Bub from my team then came up with a really great idea to bring together high-resolution still images and high-speed video footage, at the same time and on the same camera chip".

As Nature Journal reports, "by offsetting pixel-exposure times during capture of a single image frame, embeds temporal information in each frame. This allows simultaneous acquisition of full-resolution images at native detector frame rates and high-speed image sequences at reduced resolution, without increasing bandwidth requirements. We demonstrate this method using macroscopic and microscopic examples, including imaging calcium transients in heart cells at 250 Hz using a 10-Hz megapixel camera."

This concept has attracted the attention of Cairn Research, a UK based scientific instrument manufacturer. The technology has been patented by Isis Innovation, the University of Oxford's technology transfer office, which provided seed funding for this development. Dr. Mark Pitter from the University of Nottingham is planning to compress the technology into an all-in-one sensor that could be put inside normal cameras.

Update: UK Telegraph published quite a long article on the camera idea.

1 comment:

  1. http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn18522-offtheshelf-camera-hacked-to-grab-highspeed-video.html

    This article says they use a DMD mirror array to selectively choose one of sixteen pixels in a subarray to light up, breaking a single frame into 16 subframes, with a different pixel in the subarray selected during each subframe integration.

    Seems to me that without more tricks and tradeoffs this approach will be limited to DMD resolution, and the speed up is directly related to loss in resolution.

    Ironically the approach is being pursued to save money compared to existing solutions. Yet, if you build a commercial product for a niche market it seems that you are forced into higher pricing due to R&D, NRE, FAE, G&A, and other costs spread over a smaller sales base. So maybe this is really for do-it-yourselfers.

    All in all I don't yet see the advantage compared to a solution that does not use a DMD, if you want to make a high speed camera company.

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