Science-- there's something for everyone

Friday, May 28, 2010

Keeping everything in focus

Keigo Iizuka of the University of Toronto, in collaboration with David Wilkes, president of Wilkes Associates, has developed the ‘Omni-focus Video Camera’. This novel device keeps both background and foreground objects in continuous sharp focus.

First, Iizuka had to invent a new distance-mapping camera (the Divergence-ratio Axi-vision Camera, or Divcam). The Divcam measures the distance from itself to each pixel in the intended image. An array of video cameras, each containing an integrated Divcam, makes up the entire Omni-focus system. Information from the different cameras is compiled to form one focused image.


Figure 1a: Image taken with prototype Omni-focus system using two color video cameras

Figure 1b. Same image with conventional camera

Credit: University of Toronto

The system is still in the initial development phase. When perfected, the researchers anticipate a range of uses for the Omni-focus Video Camera including improved coverage of televised events where background and foreground performers are simultaneously in focus.

Iizuka also thinks the device could be useful in the field of medicine:

I'd like to apply the principle of the Omni-focus Video Camera to the design of a laparoscope. It would help doctors at the operating table, if they can see the entire view without touching optics of the laparoscope, especially if dealing with a large lesion.