Flexible sheet camera concept could lead to bendable capture devices
Researchers at Columbia University are working to produce a flexible sheet camera with stretchable lenses. The program aims to create very thin, high resolution cameras that can be wrapped around surfaces like car panels. Currently in concept form, the sheet lens array that such a camera might use has been developed to produce a seamless image on a flexible sensor when it is bent or wrapped around a physical object.
The focus of the research is in creating flexible lenses that are capable of changing shape (and hence the effective focal length) as they are stretched and compressed so that the imaging sensor can record a detailed image whatever the field of view.
|With fixed lenses, gaps appear between the coverage of the lenses as the substrate is bent (left), but in the researcher's flexible lens example (right) the lenses bend with the substrate and offer continuous coverage of the subject.|
In previous attempts at flexible lens arrays only the substrate has been flexible, and as the sheet of lenses has been bent gaps have appeared in the subject coverage as the angle between the lenses increased beyond their individual field of view. These gaps lead to aliasing artifacts in the final image that can't be corrected in post-processing software. In this new concept the lenses are also flexible and they stretch as the sheet bends, altering their focal length and providing better sampling of the subject.
So far the research has successfully produced a sheet of silicone with lenses molded on one side and a diffuser behind a sheet of apertures on the other. The apertures act as a low pass filter ensuring light from each molded lens reaches only one point on the viewing diffuser.
|Images created with the substrate bend by different degrees, showing how the field of view changes|
The system hasn’t actually been used with a sensor yet, but the study did use it to project images on to the diffuser screen to determine how effective it would be. Bending the sheet increased and decreased its field of view, or effective focal length, and the images were displayed without missing areas. All that is required now is a flexible sensor to go with it.
|An array of lenses was formed by pouring silicone into a metal mold|
The intention of the project is to work towards finding a way of making sheets of lenses to work with photosensitive materials that will record images when wrapped around real-world objects. The researchers want ultimately be able to produce these sheet cameras in roll format at a low cost so that the sheets can be cut to size to suit specific uses.
The released information suggests a sheet camera could be wrapped around the panels of a car to give the driver a view from all angles. Alternatively sheet cameras could be used by consumers to take normal pictures but with the user bending the sheet to alter the field of view, or zoom effect, of the system.
For more information see the project’s page on the University of Columbia website.
Flexible Sheet Cameras With Elastic Optics
In this project, we pursue a radically different approach to imaging. Rather than seeking to capture the world from a single point in space, our goal is to explore the idea of imaging using a thin, large, flexible sheet. If such cameras can be made at a low cost (ideally, like a roll of plastic sheet), they can be used to image the world in ways that would be difficult to achieve using one or more conventional cameras. In the most general sense, such an imaging system would enable any surface in the real world to capture visual information. While there is significant ongoing work on the development of flexible image sensors, our interest here is in the design of the optics needed to form images on such sensors.
At first glance one might imagine that a simple lens array aligned with a flexible detector array would suffice - its field of view (FOV) can be varied by simply bending it. What is perhaps less apparent is the fact that, in a curved state, the FOV can end up being severely under-sampled. This under-sampling leads to a captured image that is not bandlimited. Thus, the Nyquist sampling criterion is violated and the image will suffer from aliasing artifacts when reconstructed. It is important to note that these artifacts cannot be removed via post-processing since scene information is lost during image formation.
To address the above aliasing problem over an entire range of sheet curvatures, we propose the design of a deformable (elastic) lens array. We show that, if designed carefully, the deformable lenses of the array will change shape (and hence focal length) under bending forces in a way that mitigates aliasing. A remarkable feature of our design is that the lens array can achieve aliasing compensation passively, without the use of any per-pixel actuation or control. Our optics can be combined with a flexible sensor array to obtain a complete sheet camera. This project was supported by the Office of Naval Research (ONR).
|Precious Past Dreams by Domenick Creaco|
from Your City - Industrial Landmark (rerun)
|Aurora by ALAziz|
from Best Photo of the Week...
|Cold rock by jr|
Ross Lowell was a man of many talents who had more than 25 patents to his name, created a lighting company and created gaffer tape, a staple in the camera bags of photographers and cinematographers the world over.
Light has announced it's teaming up with Sony to combined experience and technology in their respective fields to create the next-generation of multi-camera smartphones.
The Ricoh GR III will be going on sale this March for $899. It has a 24MP APS-C sensor, newly designed 28mm equiv. F2.8 lens, in-body image stabilization and on-sensor phase detection.
Ricoh's new WG-6 is the company's latest waterproof camera, with a 20MP sensor, 28-140mm equiv. lens and the ability to go 20m/65ft underwater. If you need something that's both crushproof and chemical-resistant, there's the G900, which is designed for industrial use.
Version 6.0.0 of the open source image editing application digiKam is a major update and has been two years in the making.
Lomography has launched the Lomogon 32mm F2.5, a compact lens with full frame sensor coverage and a unique wheel of aperture stops that protrudes from the barrel.
At its Galaxy Unpacked event, Samsung has officially unveiled the Galaxy S10 and S10+ with a triple rear-camera array, as well as a more basic S10e model with a dual main camera unit. As expected, the S10 series' display is the center of attention with a hole-punch style front-facing camera embedded in the screen.
Picktorial for macOS gets a major 4.0 update with new DAM, improved search functionality and overall stability improvements.
Samsung wasted no time unveiling the Galaxy Fold at its Unpacked event today – a foldable device with a 4.6" display when folded, and 7.3" display when unfolded. The device contains a total of six cameras – three on the back, two inside and one front-facing camera.
The Mi 9 combines a 1/2" sensor in its primary camera with ultra-wide and tele options to cover a wide range of focal lengths.
Photographers Ben Horne is asking for help to find the owners of a battered Fujifilm camera that fell from the top of Angels Landing in Zion National Park.
Taiwanese lens manufacturer William Optics is proposing to make a flatfield Petzval lens aimed at star gazers and photographers that it claims is the world’s sharpest 250mm.
Given that it uses the same sensor and processor as the X-T3, it's no surprise that the Fujifilm X-T30 is capable of producing some excellent photos. We took a pre-production X-T30 all over the Seattle area and have plenty of photos for your viewing pleasure.
Tamron has announced three new full-frame lenses slated to launch in the middle of 2019: an SP 35mm F1.4 Di USD and 35-150mm F2.8-4 Di VC OSD for DSLRs, as well as an ultra-wide 17-28mm F2.8 Di III RXD for Sony E-mount cameras.
Roger and his team at Lensrentals have switched things up and decided to build a lens rather than tearing it apart.
George Mendonsa, the gentleman kissing a woman believed to be Greta Zimmer Friedman in Alfred Eisenstaedt's iconic image titled 'V-J Day in Times Square,' has passed away at the age of 95.
Want to know more about the Canon EOS RP? We conducted a live Q&A that you can watch here. We'll be trying to address those comments we didn't get to in the comments.
Version 3.0.2 of Skylum's Luminar software has been improved for both Windows and macOS systems.
Until now, the word 'bokeh' has been a noun. But that may very well change with the help of Apple's recent video advertisement.
The EF-M 32mm F1.4 is a welcome addition to Canon's APS-C mirrorless lens lineup. It's a good performer all-around and enjoyable to use on the EOS M50, and we hope to see more like it introduced to the EF-M range.
The data breach we reported on last week did not only affect 500px but a total of 16 websites, including mobile image sharing platform EyeEm, Animoto, Artsy and Fotolog.
Camera Rescue, a Finnish organization determined to rescue more than 100K analog, has already saved 46,000 cameras and plans to more than double that number by 2020.
Independent lens manufacturer Sigma has announced that its new 28mm T1.5 cine lens for full frame sensor cameras will be available from the middle of March.
Panasonic has announced the impending release of two new cameras, the ZS80/TZ95 compact camera and the FZ1000 II superzoom camera.
At Dubai's recent Gulf Photo Plus event, Fujifilm showed off several of its early concept mockups for GFX cameras that (sadly) never made it into production. We took a closer look.
Panasonic is well known for including impressive video features on its cameras. In this article, professional cinematographer Jack Lam explains one killer feature the company could add to its S series that would shake up the industry – and it all comes down to manual focus.
Lens manufacturer Irix has announced it's expanding its product lineup into the Japanese market.
Full-frame cameras get a lot of attention lately, but Technical Editor Richard Butler thinks that APS-C makes the most sense for a lot of people – and there's just one company consistently giving the format the support it deserves.
The 12th International Garden Photographer of the Year winners have been announced. We've gathered the top photos from each category and rounded them up into a slideshow.