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Electronic Eyeball Uses Curved Image Sensor

timothy posted about 6 years ago | from the intelligent-design dept.

Hardware Hacking 35

AnonymousCoward writes "US researchers have made a digital imaging system designed like the human eyeball — its image sensor is on the inside of a hemisphere like your retina. Resolution is so far low, but finding a way to use silicon sensors this way offers a way around the unavoidable distortion that results from projecting a wide angle view onto a flat sensor."

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I'll keep an eye out for you (4, Funny)

wooferhound (546132) | about 6 years ago | (#24502121)

I will keep an eye out for more information about this article . . .

Re:I'll keep an eye out for you (2, Funny)

inKubus (199753) | about 6 years ago | (#24502151)

I guess we'll see how this looks soon.

Re:I'll keep an eye out for you (2, Insightful)

4D6963 (933028) | about 6 years ago | (#24502529)

I will keep an eye out for more information about this article . . .

I guess we'll see how this looks soon.

Uh oh, chain of bad ocular puns in sight..

Re:I'll keep an eye out for you (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24503007)

The appearance of this incredible technology to my eyes leaves a gaze of blind glare in my squinted vision. As I notice the visibility of this project on Slashdot, I can only wonder how many page views this will receive. Look, to ability to watch TV is very important, so if this noticeably forward looking technology can ensure that blind people can glance at hot women, then let me bare witness: Today was the day that we stared the future dans les yeux!

Now cut it out. SERIOUSLY!

Re:I'll keep an eye out for you (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24503587)

Ocular? Hardly knew her!

Re:I'll keep an eye out for you (1)

Breakfast Pants (323698) | about 6 years ago | (#24520693)

at least you saw it coming

Re:I'll keep an eye out for you (2, Funny)

spun (1352) | about 6 years ago | (#24502315)

"I'll keep an eye out for you."

Isn't that what the hooker with the glass eye said to her loyal customer?

Re:I'll keep an eye out for you (3, Funny)

Missing_dc (1074809) | about 6 years ago | (#24502675)

"I'll keep an eye out for you."

Isn't that what the hooker with the glass eye said to her loyal customer?

I think the leper responded with:
"Keep the tip"

Enlighten me... (1)

rodrigoandrade (713371) | about 6 years ago | (#24502245)

Is it that much different from a camera lens??

Re:Enlighten me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24502523)

um, yes.

Re:Enlighten me... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24502623)

Yes. Perspective correction for flat sensors (or flat film) causes all sorts of problems, from corner softness to chromatic abeeration, and that is why camera "lenses" actually have dozens of elements (i.e., actual lenses) inside them (which in turn cause other problems, like flare). With this kind of design, you can basically get away with using a single lens (for fixed focals, anyway).

Re:Enlighten me... (3, Informative)

StrategicIrony (1183007) | about 6 years ago | (#24504477)

i'm sorry.... let's insert some definitions...

is a curved digital optical sensor "much different" than an array of 6-20 ground glass lenses?

Why.... yes... it is. :-)

Domed lenses (4, Interesting)

Buzz_Litebeer (539463) | about 6 years ago | (#24502273)

I could have sworn years ago that there were people making headway in having cameras that were domed cameras that, with software, would allow people to pan and view within half of a sphere of view.

Whatever happened to these things?

Why are we not able to produce these now? Why not simply have a spinning CCD?

I could never understand why we would not have something like this at a grocer then later simply use software to pan and zoom and see everything.

Could call it a panopticon camera.

Panopticon (1)

rodrigoandrade (713371) | about 6 years ago | (#24502337)

What, is there a new Transformers toy line I don't know about yet??

Re:Panopticon (1)

xpuppykickerx (1290760) | about 6 years ago | (#24502439)

Yes. The Jeremy Bentham edition!

Re:Domed lenses (2, Insightful)

Yoweigh116 (185130) | about 6 years ago | (#24502691)

Panopticam?

Re:Domed lenses (2, Interesting)

Buzz_Litebeer (539463) | about 6 years ago | (#24502823)

haha yes.

It just does not seem to me that with high megapixel high refresh rate cameras out there, that we cannot do something as simple as spin the camera around and take pictures every 1/XX of a second and then with software manipulate it.

or hell, wrap some CCD's into the system and get all angles at once and use the software that way etc...

I have also seen stuff by universities where they have the ability to take pictures at multiple depth and I know we probably have high speed digital cameras to couple these too.

So couple them, multi depth spinny camera that takes pictures at certain secotors once every 1/30th of a second and save them, and then use software to sort out the image afterward.

Call it the Panopticam as you say.

Could mount the things on your car, say on the inside. and if a crash occurs you could have complete 360 degree view of the accident, no need to have the camera pointing in a certain direction.

would be great for forensics, traffic lights etc...

Re:Domed lenses (3, Informative)

StrategicIrony (1183007) | about 6 years ago | (#24504463)

Domed CMOS sensors are hard. CMOS is made by photolithography and the layers are set down by lasers etching patterns into silicon wafers.

Since silicon has a flat crystal structure, it can't easily be made into a curve, so you have to rethink the entire concept of CCD/CMOS digital optical sensors. The phrase "I could never understand why..." generally underscores a..... general lack of understanding. :-)

Re:Domed lenses (1)

Mattsson (105422) | about 6 years ago | (#24507613)

One could take a bunch of, say, 10x10 pixel sensors and put them next to each other to make a curved sensor.
The interconnects would be a pain though...

Curved monitor? (2)

seanonymous (964897) | about 6 years ago | (#24502359)

Ok, so you take a photo that doesn't have any distortion around the edges, then edit it by projecting it onto the inside of a sphere, then print it onto the inside of a bowl?

Re:Curved monitor? (2, Informative)

Rayeth (1335201) | about 6 years ago | (#24502511)

The problem there is that flat monitors are so much easier to make and take up much less room. Convincing people sitting at a desk to install spheres or bowls to use their computers is unlikely at best. Of course that is besides the point, when you consider that manufacturing such devices is probably equally hard. Much easier to develop 1 new sensor that intergrates into the rest of the system, than a system to fit 1 sensor.

Re:Curved monitor? (2, Informative)

tilandal (1004811) | about 6 years ago | (#24502949)

All monitors were very curved for many many years. Its a great deal more difficult to make flat monitors.

Re:Curved monitor? (1)

timster (32400) | about 6 years ago | (#24503693)

That statement is only true of CRT monitors. There is no current process to make a curved LCD.

Re:Curved monitor? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24503173)

No, the sensor is curved, so a direct projection onto it will, when "unwrapped", look correct. Look up perspective correction lenses and compare them to how a human eye works.

Re:Curved monitor? (1)

vrmlguy (120854) | about 6 years ago | (#24508051)

I suspect that images captured by this device won't be intended for display. Instead, it could be used in computer vision systems. If you're taking a picture of everyone walking past a point in an airport concourse, you'd like the people at the edge of the image to be undistorted; it would make the terrorist recognition software a bit easier to write. Likewise, an autonomous vehicle could use this to better recognize its environment.

Re:Curved monitor? (1)

NitsujTPU (19263) | about 6 years ago | (#24519427)

I saw a lot of comments on this and thought that I'd chime in.

Here's the idea.

If you have a fisheye lens, that lens normally projects onto a flat CCD which is used to take the picture. That picture is distorted when it hits the lens. If you want to flatten the picture, you can do so by modeling the distortion imposed on the image by the lens, then inverting that distortion. This is a common practice in computer vision applications.

If we're to look at this model, it becomes readily apparent that some sections of this undistorted image will have lower resolution than others because certain pixels will represent a much larger area on the surface of the lens. The mapping between the square CCD and the curved lens is not one-to-one.

If we're to use a curved CCD, we can raise the resolution of the image by distributing the receivers in the grid such that this mapping is closer to one-to-one (or perhaps exactly one-to-one).

Then, we just do the same undistortion process again in order to flatten out the image, this time taking into account the curvature of the CCD, however, if you read through the math, it becomes apparent that the model should be identical if the CCD lines up perfectly behind the lens, and only slightly different if it does not.

Finally! (1)

xpuppykickerx (1290760) | about 6 years ago | (#24502419)

I can get some eyes in the back of my head.

$6 Million Dollar Man (1)

trongey (21550) | about 6 years ago | (#24502465)

If your name is Steve Austin, and you're a teenager, then this would be about the right time to start your test pilot career.

Re:$6 Million Dollar Man (1)

camperdave (969942) | about 6 years ago | (#24502791)

If your name is Steve Austin, and you're a teenager, then this would be about the right time to start your test pilot career.

Yeah, except $6 million doesn't buy as much these days as it did in the mid 1970's.

Re:$6 Million Dollar Man (1)

colinfahey (1246882) | about 6 years ago | (#24507541)

In some respects, $6 million now buys a lot more than in the mid 1970s. For computer technology, $6 million today could be used to purchase the computing power of a million mainframes from the 1970s. Some things are available now that would cost infinity dollars in the mid 1970s, like the cures for some diseases, or drugs to keep certain diseases in remission (e.g., AIDS, etc). We have the DNA sequences for humans and other species. Anyone can buy a cellular phone; it's easy to forget what a miracle it is. And then there's the Internet! Sure, all of those things cost a lot to develop, but any consumer can now pay a tiny fraction of $6 million and have god-like power compared to the people in the mid 1970s. My computer can emulate 1000 Atari 2600s simultaneously. Could any supercomputer in the world in 1975 compete with the average computer sold to the consumer today? I mean, one can get a 2.6 GHz quad-core CPU and 8 GB of RAM for just a few hundred dollars! Meanwhile, labor costs have increased dramatically. George Lucas said he couldn't have afforded to make the original Star Wars if he had started production a decade or two later; the labor costs in the film industry increased dramatically over the years. Likewise, the cost of getting a college education made an exponential increase in the 1990s. Medical care is another field with high labor costs. So, it seems like the PARTS for the Six Million Dollar Man might only cost tens of thousands of dollars, but the LABOR might easily run in to the millions. Heck, it's easy for an ordinary guy to get charged $250K for basic surgery; imagine the costs of replacing sensory organs and limbs with bionics... Hopefully those costs will come down as more medical devices are produced.

Resolution is so far low... (1)

SleptThroughClass (1127287) | about 6 years ago | (#24503395)

"Resolution is so far low..."

...that my wife looks good.
...that it's only useful as a limbo webcam.
...that my Chinese neighbor Low Fat is the only person it works for.

Re: (1)

clint999 (1277046) | about 6 years ago | (#24503899)

"I'll keep an eye out for you."Isn't that what the hooker with the glass eye said to her loyal customer?

Proper Modulation (1)

superspam (857967) | about 6 years ago | (#24504789)

The electric eye is a green type of...tube

Why (1)

jhfry (829244) | about 6 years ago | (#24511329)

The purpose of curving the sensor is so that you can maintain an equal ratio of pixels to degrees horizontal and vertical... IE if the lens is capable of 180 degrees horizontal... and you have an 1800 pixel display... you want 10 pixels per degree of view.

Why not just use a glass lens and a sensor array that has more pixels at the edges than in the middle... no fish eye, no distortion, no curved sensor.

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