The smart single-pixel camera mimics the human eye by focusing on the important details in images, such as faces, and allotting lower-resolution to areas of unimportance such as backgrounds. The invention made by researchers at the University of Glasgow (Scotland, U.K.) appears in Science Advances titled Adaptive foveated single-pixel imaging with dynamic supersampling.
The University of Glasgow has been experimenting with scanning cameras that use a single pixel because of their low cost and the fact that they can more easily target parts of the electromagnetic spectrum inaccessible to megapixel imager chips, namely terahertz and far infrared. But now with the capability of capturing more detail where it counts and fuzzing out areas of little importance, the single-pixel camera should be much more useful to researchers and even lower in cost than before.
For their recent experiments, researchers used their single-pixel to scan a 1,000-by-1,000 pixel area, which by modern standard is very low resolution (just 1-Mbyte). However, since the camera picks out the important parts, scanning them at much higher resolution, its performance matched that of a multi-mega-pixel camera.
The invention team leader was professor David Phillips at the Royal Academy of Engineering Research, a Fellow at the University of Glasgow’s School of Physics and Astronomy. He is now exploring opportunities for industrial and commercial use. His team was building on the prior work of professor Miles Padgett, whose focus was on 3D photos, imaging gas leaks, and penetrating opaque surfaces with optics.
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Funding was provided by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and the Royal Academy of Engineering (RAEng) in the U.K.
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