Wednesday, May 5, 2010 at 9:02AM
The Omni-focus Video Camera, developed by researchers at the University of Toronto, is a breakthrough in video imaging. The camera delivers automatic real-time focus of both near and far images, simultaneously, and in high resolution.
Notice the image difference between the omni-focused camera and a conventional camera. Note that in the omni-focused image, the fingers in the foreground are so sharply focused that even the fingerprints are easily recognized.
Professor Keigo Iizuka, inventor and principal investigator and professor at the Edward S. Rogers Sr. Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, explains, "the intensity of a point source decays with the inverse square of the distance of propagation. This variation with distance has proven to be large enough to provide depth mapping with high resolution. What's more, by using two point sources at different locations, the distance of the object can be determined without the influence of its surface texture."
Iizuka invented the Divergence-ratio Axi-vision Camera (Divcam), which is a key component of the Omni-focus Video Camera.
The video camera contains an array of color video cameras, each focused at a different distance, and an integrated Divcam. The Divcam maps distance information for every pixel in the scene in real time. A software-based pixel correspondence utility, using prior intellectual property uses the distance information to select individual pixels from the ensemble of outputs of the color video cameras, and generates the final omni-focused single-video image.
Notice the camera's high pixel resolution. Although the two sewing needles were photographed approximately 1.2 meters apart, both are in sharp focus. Note the eye of the back needle, is actually viewed through the eye of the front needle.
"The Omni-focus Video Camera's unique ability to achieve simultaneous focus of all of the objects in a scene, near or far, multiple or single, without the usual physical movement of the camera's optics, represents a true advancement that is further distinguished in terms of high-resolution, distance mapping, real-time operation, simplicity, compactness, lightweight portability and a projected low manufacturing cost," said Dr. Wilkes, a consulting investigator and president of Wilkes Associates.