A team of scientists from the University of Glasgow (UK) has developed a camera of a single pixel to generate 3D images, which is cheaper than current digital and also allows you to see beyond the spectrum of visible light.

Glasgow University 1 pixel 3D camera

The single-pixel camera offers a variety of alternatives and application fields because it could be used in areas such as medicine, geology or engineering. Another advantage that brings is its low cost and the speed with which it is able to generate images.

For its design, the scientists used light detectors of a single pixel, rather than the millions of pixels that are needed for current image sensors of digital cameras, a light projector and a computer.

Researchers say a single pixel detectors can see beyond the visible light frequencies, reaching wavelengths of X-ray This would open up new uses for 3D images in a variety of sectors such as the geophysics or medicine. It might even help doctors to detect tumors.

In addition, the solution the team from the University of Glasgow proposes is much cheaper than a digital camera because no accurate or lenses or laser equipment.

Glasgow University 1 pixel camera for 3D-2Light patterns

In the experiment, the researchers placed four cameras around an object and projected patterns of light on it, throwing fast sequences, similar to the typical pattern of black and white squares crossword puzzles. Once they had recorded intensities of reflected light, the information was fed into a computer and patterns with an algorithm to produce a 2D image is executed.

To create the 3D image, the results of the other three detectors were combined as if it were a collage that creates depth; that is, they used the different shades of shadows and hues to generate. The technique is known as shape from shade (shadow shape).

A conventional 3D imaging system requires a high degree of precision calibration and convert the information into a 2D image in 3D. However, the camera system of a single pixel does not require much calibration to create images with very similar results in terms of accuracy. And the time it takes to create it is only a few seconds.

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By • 20 May, 2013
• Section: Display, Projection

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