Motion modules adjust lenses on Gigapixel camera

New Scale Technologies' (Victor, NY, USA) piezoelectric motion modules have been integrated into a Gigapixel camera developed at Duke University (Durham, NC, USA).

Motion modules adjust lenses on Gigapixel camera
Motion modules adjust lenses on Gigapixel camera

New Scale Technologies' (Victor, NY, USA) piezoelectric motion modules have been integrated into a Gigapixel camera developed at Duke University (Durham, NC, USA).

New Scale's modules provide an automated means to adjust the lenses of each of the hundreds of sub-cameras that make up the Advanced Wide FOV Architectures for Image Reconstruction and Exploitation (AWARE) camera system.

In an AWARE camera, hundreds of 14Mpixel CMOS imager from Aptina Imaging (San Jose, CA, USA) are grouped around a spherical lens. The image from the objective lens is refracted outward to the microcameras, and each microcamera captures a specific area of the field of view. Images from the individual microcameras are stitched together using image processing software to create a single image with a wide field of view and unprecedented detail.

By independently focusing the lens of each microcamera, every area in the field of view can be brought into sharp focus simultaneously. This requires extremely small systems that fit into the densely-packed spherical array of microcameras. To meet the requirement, New Scale delivered a customized version of its M3 micro-mechatronics module.

The custom module has a cross section less than 6 x 10 mm, a stroke of 2.5 mm and resolution of 0.5 micrometers. It moves a lens weighing several grams. The complete motion system integrates New Scale's patented Squiggle piezoelectric motor, ASIC motor driver, magnetic position sensor and microprocessor with closed-loop motion firmware.

Details of the AWARE camera were published in Vision Systems Design in September. In the same month, the researchers formed a spin-off company named Aqueti to commercialize the technology which they see as potentially attractive for use in security, events or online publishing applications.

The team's research was supported by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and is a collaboration of Duke University, the University of Arizona, the University of California San Diego , Aptina, Raytheon, RPC Photonics, and Distant Focus Corporation.

More details on the design of the AWARE camera can be found in the Vision Systems Design article "Gigapixel camera employs multiple image sensors."

-- Dave Wilson, Senior Editor, Vision Systems Design

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