Imaging

New Software Spots Eye Contact

Did you see? New software developed at Saarland University turns any camera into an eye-contact detector. Why is it so valuable to identify eye contact? We spoke with the inventor about new kinds of applications enabled by the technology.

Posted in: News, Cameras, Imaging, Software
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Linear Fresnel Spectrometer Chip with Gradient Line Grating

A very small spectrometer was created by integrating a differential linear Fresnel lens onto an imaging chip.

NASA's Langley Research Center has built a very small spectrometer by integrating a differential linear Fresnel lens onto an imaging chip. NASA is using the lens/chip in a very small spectrometer that will be mounted on the tires of a rover to analyze soil on the Moon or Mars. The spectrometer is useful for space-constrained applications. It combines good resolution with small size and potentially reduced manufacturing costs. The ultra-compact integration of the spectrometer is enabled by the use of an optimized Fresnel grating. Since Fresnel imaging works as valid focal points of spectrum within the short optical distance, the shorter optical path length required (compared to a traditional Fraunhofer lens) enables the small size. Further, the evolution to a differentially linear Fresnel lens (instead of circular Fresnel) avoids the need for aperture slit driver electronics and moving parts, and simplifies manufacturing. The linear Fresnel gratings lend themselves to mass production via plastic injection molding or nano-imprint lithography. NASA is seeking partners to develop the spectrometer for commercial applications.

Posted in: Briefs, Imaging
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Machine Vision System

This system rapidly recognizes and locates surface shapes in range images.

A number of instruments have been built to obtain range images — a two-dimensional array of numbers that gives the depth of a scene along many directions from a central point in the instrument. Instead of measuring the brightness of many points in a scene, as in a television camera, these instruments measure where each point is in a three-dimensional space. Both range images and the more conventional intensity images from digital cameras have been used in the computer vision research community to determine the pose of observed objects or surface shapes. “Pose” refers to a complete description of an object's position and orientation. For a rigid object, this requires six numbers — such as X, Y, Z, pitch, yaw, and roll — or six equivalent coordinates. The previous methods for pose estimation all suffer from either a lack of generality or from time inefficiency.

Posted in: Briefs, Imaging
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Lock-In Imaging System for Detecting Disturbances in Fluid

The aircraft-based technology can detect irregular motion of transparent air.

NASA's Langley Research Center has developed an aircraft-based turbulence and vortex detection system. Turbulence and vortices in the front-flight path are very dangerous for airplanes. Especially when an airplane is approaching the airfield to land, the altitude near the airfield is very low, and the vortices and air turbulence near the ground can cause the airplane to become unstable. Because the vortices and turbulence are just an irregular motion of transparent air, visual detection is very difficult. The NASA Langley invention is designed to detect the irregular motion of transparent air in the front-flight path from a few hundred meters to kilometers.

Posted in: Briefs, Imaging
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Curved Sensor Improves Image Quality Captured with Digital Cameras

This sensor demonstrates significantly sharper images and a practical approach for curving off-the-shelf image sensors.

In dark environments, it is often difficult to get a clear, high-quality image. To address this problem, a method was developed for spherically curving the flat image sensors found in digital cameras. The curved sensors could be used to create better cameras for surveillance, head-mounted displays, and advancements in autonomous vehicle navigation.

Posted in: Briefs, Imaging
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Algorithm Enables Five-Dimensional Imaging in Living Organisms

This technique is faster, less expensive, and more accurate than current methods, and works with cellphone images.

Researchers use fluorescent imaging to locate proteins and other molecules in cells and tissues by tagging the molecules with dyes that glow under certain kinds of light — the same principle behind “black light” images. Fluorescent imaging can help scientists and researchers understand which molecules are produced in large amounts in cancer or other diseases. This information may be useful in diagnosis or in identifying possible targets for therapeutic drugs.

Posted in: Briefs, Imaging
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Do you see augmented reality as a way of improving design processes?

A report last week concluded that the augmented reality (AR) market is expected to grow from $2.39 billion in 2016 to $61.39 billion by 2023. The research from the Hadapsar, India-based analyst firm MarketsandMarkets cites increasing demand for AR devices and applications in healthcare, retail, and e-commerce sectors.

AR plays a potential role for design engineers looking to model a product directly into an environment. What do you think? Do you see augmented reality as a way of improving design processes?

Posted in: Question of the Week, Displays/Monitors/HMIs, Imaging, Visualization Software, Computer-Aided Design (CAD), Computer-Aided Engineering (CAE), Computer-Aided Manufacturing (CAM)
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Sound-Off: How Do a Vehicle’s Imaging Sensors Filter Out Weather, Crosstalk?

A "Geiger-mode" lidar sensor sends out pulses at a high repetition rate (200 kHz), forming an image on the percent of pulses that return. The technology has been used by vehicle manufacturers to support collision avoidance, adaptive cruise control, and other Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS) applications. But how will factors like snow or another vehicle’s lidar impact a sensor's reading?

Posted in: News, Automotive, Imaging, Data Acquisition, Detectors, Sensors
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Are You Using Augmented Reality in the Design Process?

A new report concludes that the augmented reality (AR) market is expected to grow from $2.39 billion in 2016 to $61.39 billion by 2023.

Posted in: News, Displays/Monitors/HMIs, Imaging
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World’s Brightest Laser Sparks New Behavior in Light

Physicists from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln are seeing an everyday phenomenon in a new light. By focusing laser light to a brightness 1 billion times greater than the surface of the sun — the brightest light ever produced on Earth — the physicists have observed changes in a vision-enabling interaction between light and matter. Those changes yielded unique X-ray pulses with the potential to generate extremely high-resolution imagery useful for medical, engineering, scientific and security purposes.

Posted in: News, Imaging, Lasers & Laser Systems
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