Tiny, Paper-thin Camera and Iris Recognition Technology Being Field Tested for Military, Homeland Security
Thursday, April 15, 2010 at 8:20AM
New miniature camera technology -- with the thickness of two stacked credit cards -- that can track the enemy in dark caves and urban alleys, and identify a person from an iris scan, is being field-tested for military and security uses.
Panoptes is an ultra-slim smart camera that combines images from low-resolution imagers to create a high-resolution image. The large number of tiny imagers are directed independently by a MEMS-controlled micro-mirror. Because there is no protruding lens, Pantoptes can be made flat.
A central processor combines the images into a single picture, producing a higher resolution than the individual imagers. The intelligent system can identify areas of interest -- for example, a face -- and concentrates the sub-imagers on only the area of interest -- the iris.
As Marc Christensen, project team leader at Southern Methodist University, explained, “After a first frame or two was collected, the system could identify that certain areas, like the open field, had nothing of interest, whereas other areas, like the license plate of a car parked outside or peering in the windows, had details that were not sufficiently resolved. In the next frame, subimagers that had been interrogating the field would be steered to aid in the imaging of the license plate and windows, thereby extracting the additional information.”
The resulting image is produced without "noise," and frame rates of 30 to 60 per second can be achieved using a normal digital signal processor.
Applications for this technology include military, border patrol and airports.
The new applications may be ready for demonstrations as soon as late 2011, said Christensen.