Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Seeing is believing

EU research frequently produces spin-off results with good market potential. A prime example of this is the recent commercialisation of high-speed, high-resolution film photography, which has led to the development of a new video camera as an investigative tool for manufacturi...
EU research frequently produces spin-off results with good market potential. A prime example of this is the recent commercialisation of high-speed, high-resolution film photography, which has led to the development of a new video camera as an investigative tool for manufacturing industry.

Background

The ability to analyse extremely brief events - happening in just thousandths of a second - is necessary to fully understand many scientific phenomena and industrial processes. Explosions, high-speed collisions, fast-moving machinery, and the flow of materials - all these events can occur in much less than the blink of an eye. High-speed film cameras can be used to capture the moment of action and record it for analysis. Researchers can then study the processed films in slow motion or even frame by frame.

Film cameras are large and heavy, the film is expensive and time must be allowed for developing. Video enables the user to feed digital images directly into a computer, producing the required information for accurate analysis in just a few seconds. However, video cameras are normally unsuitable to capture high-speed events because they are unable to film fast enough or in sharp enough detail. Before completion of a 12-month prototyping project, CamRecord, the best video performance was around 200 frames per second for high resolution systems (512 x 512 pixels).

Description, impact and results

This project is part of the European Commission's Competitive Support Activities (CSAs) which finance scientific and technical work needed to bring technologies, whose underlying knowledge is owned by the EU, to the stage at which they can be applied by European industry. They are normally spin-offs from research conducted by the European Commission's own Joint Research Centre.

A new technology had been developed during advanced optics research conducted for the Commission. This research demonstrated that a camera combining high picture resolution and fast speeds (up to 1 000 pictures per second) was technically feasible.

The aim of the `CamRecord' project was to apply this technology and build a high-speed, high-resolution video-camera system. During the project, a prototype was successfully built and tested. Today, as a direct result of the EU funding during its development, a new high-speed, high-resolution video system is commercially available as an investigative tool for European manufacturing industry.

Working partnerships

The original technology was developed by the Groupe d'Optique Appliquee of the French Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (GOA-CNRS) based in Strasbourg. Application of this technology in the CamRecord project was carried out by the German company Photonetics, a manufacturer of high-speed streak cameras. The development of a high-speed memory card for the new video system was subcontracted to the Ecole Nationale Superieure de Physique de Strasbourg (ENSPS) in France.


Source: European Commission, DG XIII/D.4 - Information and dissemination of scientific and technical knowledge

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