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Omni-directional Visual System

Objective

The main objective of the project is to integrate optical, hardware, and software technology for the realisation of a smart visual sensor, and to demonstrate its utility in key application areas. In particular our intention is to design and realise a low-cost, miniaturised digital camera acquiring panoramic (360 deg) images and performing a useful low-level processing on the incoming stream of images. The key technologies are two: panoramic mirrors and space-variant CMOS visual sensors. By designing an appropriate matching between the curvature of the mirror and the geometry of the photosite array of the visual sensor the micro camera will deliver panoramic images immediately usable.
The main objective of the project is to integrate optical, hardware, and software technology for the realisation of a smart visual sensor, and to demonstrate its utility in key application areas. In particular our intention is to design and realise a low-cost, miniaturised digital camera acquiring panoramic (360 deg) images and performing a useful low-level processing on the incoming stream of images. The key technologies are two: panoramic mirrors and space-variant CMOS visual sensors. By designing an appropriate matching between the curvature of the mirror and the geometry of the photosite array of the visual sensor the micro camera will deliver panoramic images immediately usable.

DESCRIPTION OF WORK
The project is aimed at demonstrating the feasibility of the approach by realising an omni-directional visual camera based on the optical and electronic sensors already available. During this first phase no new major component will be realised. One of the crucial aspects of the project is to define the best match between the profile of the mirror and the distribution of the sensitive elements of the CMOS sensor.
Another crucial aspect is the study and definition of the best match between image geometry resulting from the mirror/sensor coupling, and the visual measures required. For example, starting from a log-polar sensor, the optimal profile may be a conic mirror because, a proper match between the rate-of-increase of the log-polar geometry and the angle of the cone will produce panoramic images that:
a) will demand less effort and therefore simpler and faster hardware structures for image processing, and
b) will be directly usable by a human operator because of the proper match between the profile of the mirror and the geometry of the sensor array. On the other hand, conic mirrors seem not optimal for some classes of visual processing (e.g. stereo matching).
Aspects of this kind need to be properly addressed taking into consideration technological, processing and application-derived constraints. More specifically we will build a prototype of an omni directional camera using already available components (i.e. mirrors and space-variant sensors) and we will test its performance in tasks such as motion detection (from a static position) and estimation of egomotion parameters from a mobile base. Experiments with direct viewing of the panoramic image by a human observer will also be performed to test the utility of the camera for telepresence applications.

Funding Scheme

ACM - Preparatory, accompanying and support measures

Coordinator

DIPARTIMENTO DI INFORMATICA SISTEMISTICA E TELEMATICA
Address
Viale Causa 13
16145 Genova
Italy

Participants (2)

CZECH TECHNICAL UNIVERSITY IN PRAGUE
Czechia
Address
Zikova 4
166 36 Praha 6
INSTITUTO SUPERIOR TECNICO
Portugal
Address
Avenida Rovisco Pais
1049-001 Lisboa