Monday, February 09, 2015

Sharp Article on Colorized NIR Camera

Sharp Challenge for Change Magazine publishes an article on its colorized NIR camera developed with National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST). The CCD-based camera uses IR LEDs to illuminate a night scene and somehow manages to reconstruct the color image:

"...because near infrared light has a completely different composition than visible light, these must be reconstructed as colors close to those that we can see. In other words, in the theory of capturing color at night, an object is irradiated with invisible near infrared rays—not the visible light we normally see. Light reflects back off the object and the colors of this light’s various wavelengths are analysed and subsequently reproduced as the colors we can see.

Although capturing color in the dark is based on sound theory, actually putting this theory into a working product presented Sharp with a number of challenges. But we knew that if such a product could be realized, then even objects existing in total darkness could be seen in color. Sharp thus proceeded to pool all of its resources into overcoming the obstacles.

"We had finally succeeded in developing technology for a single device capable of capturing color during both day and night. But realizing a totally new pixel structure would require highly advanced technology. Pooling the vast experience of our engineers with 40 years of experience and technology accumulated in the CCD development field, we embarked upon exhaustive trial-and-error testing that made use of our existing semiconductor manufacturing equipment. Our engineers were practically master craftsmen in the way they made fine adjustments to create the substrate. Most of the development period was taken up in reworking our existing semiconductor fabrication equipment so that it would carry out automated mass production of the new CCD."

The color night-vision camera won the Digital Imaging Award in the CEATEC JAPAN 2014, Innovation Awards “As Selected by U.S. Journalists” and the Japan Brand Award in the 2014 10 Best New Product Awards, sponsored by the Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun, Ltd.

NIR image as seen by regular camera
Same image reproduced by Sharp color night camera

1 comment:

  1. I guess the color information is obtained from reflected NIR spectrum, and then reproduced as normal color way as we normally see. But I am wondering the accruacy of correlation between those two, Only valid for some standard materials or all materials?


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