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Scientists Build a Better Eye on Our World

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SENSEI camera arrangement of 50 pairs of current HDTV 5-mpixel, 1080p sensors.

Researchers are working on the development of a video camera that can capture 360-degree views in three dimensions.

Credit: Greg Dawe, UCSD

The University of Illinois at Chicago's Electronic Visualization Laboratory (EVL) has received a $3-million U.S. National Science Foundation grant to develop a video camera that can capture images in 360 degrees and three dimensions (3D).

EVL co-founder Daniel Sandin is working on the Sensor Environment Imaging (SENSEI) Instrument, which will capture the whole sphere of an object's environment, in stereo, with calibrated depth, while providing information on how far away other objects are and allowing estimates of their size and mass. Sandin says the video image exhibits true colors and brightness.

To create a composite view of multiple images, "you have to stitch together pictures that overlap and are taken at different angles," says EVL director Maxine Brown. She notes SENSEI is video, "which means not one picture, but 30 per second, in stereo, and from multiple cameras, not only set at different angles but sitting at different points."

A successful prototype will require the developers create a configurable, portable, sensor-based camera system capable of handling a large amount of data, displays for viewing the 3D stereoscopic images, and network systems that enable collaboration. SENSEI also will require hardware scaffolding for its sensor arrays, data acquisition, computing platforms, telemetry, communications, and software.

Potential users include oceanographers, computer scientists, astronomers, archaeologists, and public health experts.

From UIC News Center
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