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 upwa

Feb 1st, 1996

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.

More in Optics