Skip to main content

Accelerating innovative augmented reality broadcast applications through new industrial camera design

Periodic Reporting for period 4 - DBRLive (Accelerating innovative augmented reality broadcast applications through new industrial camera design)

Reporting period: 2018-08-01 to 2019-04-30

The aim is to simplify, miniaturize and scale the camera system for capturing real life videos for augmented reality applications. This is moree important along with change of Supponor’s (S's) business concept: from service company to technology development and licensing one. It allows less trained customer staff to manage field operations and faster growth of S's business. The main goals are support for the future 4K/UHD resolution in sports broadcasting, simplified effort in setting up and operating the camera system, and improved near infrared (NIR) imaging.

Compared to S's existing system, approx. 10-fold NIR imaging sensitivity and 40-fold dynamic range are achieved. Modern Internet protocol in data communication is employed.
Architecture of optics:
Two cases studied:
1. Solution with external (to TV camera) NIR imaging
2. Current architecture: Standard TV lens followed by beam splitter and a relay lens with iris to re-focus image for TV camera

Case 1 is too bulky and has parallax problem if there are obstacles in the field of view. Case 2 was chosen even though std. TV lenses cause veiling glare (flare) in NIR.

Optics:
Image size and lens mount for the optics in 4K TV sports cameras were studied: B4 will be the mount due to large depth-of-field (DOF). High dynamic range (HDR) NIR cameras is necessary. In HDR, NIR relay lenses are not necessary and NIR cameras run at full aperture resulting in higher NIR intensity and easier field operations but in reduced depth of field (DOF) which is not a problem according to S's experience.

Since NIR focus plane changes along with TV lens focus and zoom adjustments, an automatic NIR focusing was implemented.

Zeiss embedded the optical section of HDR camera in beam splitter which resulted in small size and cost. Two standard non-HDR cameras per NIR band are needed.

Testing of two image sensors was made. Cooling of NIR image sensors was assumed necessary, but the testing showed that dark noise of winning Sony sensor is low and cooling not needed.
Since Periodic Report 1 the technical requirement specification was completed, the solutions for technical challenges, such as suspension of the moving optical blocks, thermal management of the housing, implementation of HDR cameras have been found.

Since Periodic Report 2 the control, the hardware is working, except two minor manageable problems and long term reliability problem of relay lens. The lens system will be changed in the next version and the change will also result in improved image sharpness in corner areas. The mechanical construction is complete.

NIR imaging suffered from alignment problems of individual NIR images. Their reasons have been found, and the static alignment problem has been fixed by software. An improved camera baseplate has been found and will be used which greatly improves the dynamic alignment issue. Still further project is ongoing to make the construction more stiff.

The design of the first PFU prototype had serious problems due to wrong information in power supply manufacturer’s data sheet. Since then the construction has been completely revised. The design of PSU is working. The design of PFU, PSU and their interconnection were accepted by SGS safety specialist and once the next prototypes of PFU are available, they will be subjected to safety and EMC testing.

There are major subcontractor problems in software and firmware functions. This has prevented starting of field operations.

Overview of project results:

The architecture based on separate NIR lens(es) was rejected because it was found to be impractical. The architecture resembling the current one was chosen as it is a proven concept. The new HDR NIR cameras have a smart construction and high sensitivity. They can be focused independently of visible focusing.

Control, imaging and communications hardware have been implemented and are working as far as it has been tested. Also the the communication with the shock logger and the tree-dimensional accelerometer & gyroscope & magnetometer module are working now. The cement of two lens groups is subjected to too high stress at elevated temperatures. The cement and lens system will be changed in the next version to reduce stress level, and the change of lenses will also result in improved image sharpness in corner areas. The mechanical construction is complete, except two minor changes.



The design of the first PFU prototype had serious problems due to wrong information in power supply manufacturer’s data sheet. Since then the construction has been revised. The PSU is working. The design of PFU, PSU and their interconnection were accepted by SGS safety specialist and once the next production lot of prototypes
The new HDR NIR cameras have a smart construction and high resolution, sensitivity. and dynamic range.Yet they can be focused independently of visible focusing. The space requirement is much less than with the existing solution. Due to smarter size and operation and improved performance, some new application areas of augmented reality may open up. The application in sports will become much easier and the operational staff can be much smaller. The education of people operating the system is smaller.
The first housing prototype of hte new optics + NIR camera system with TV cam and box lens mounted