Bell Labs develops omnidirectional CCD imager for Olympics

Feb. 1, 1996
Charge-coupled devices (CCDs) form the heart of an AT&T Bell Laboratories (Holmdel, NJ) panoramic viewer that provides 360° low-light action images from a single vantage point. Unlike conventional panoramic systems with a rotating lens or multiple cameras, the imager has no moving parts and views from a single vantage point. Images ranging from still to 30-frame/s video that is seamless and sharp for all distances can be displayed. The configuration features four CCD cameras, each aimed upwa

Bell Labs develops omnidirectional CCD imager for Olympics

Charge-coupled devices (CCDs) form the heart of an AT&T Bell Laboratories (Holmdel, NJ) panoramic viewer that provides 360° low-light action images from a single vantage point. Unlike conventional panoramic systems with a rotating lens or multiple cameras, the imager has no moving parts and views from a single vantage point. Images ranging from still to 30-frame/s video that is seamless and sharp for all distances can be displayed. The configuration features four CCD cameras, each aimed upward at a triangular mirror. Software reverses the mirror images and blends the individual pictures into a single seamless image. "Our novel arrangement of mirrors allows the seamless view," notes inventor Vic Nalwa. He says such a view is not possible with other multicamera designs "because a distance of even 0.2 or 0.3 in. between the effective camera viewpoints precludes a truly seamless result." The imagers will debut at the 1996 Olympics to provide spectators with unusual competition views. Other applications include low-light sensing and surveillance, interactive television, and video conferencing.

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