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Bell Labs improves lensless camera with additional pixel on sensor

Posted June 27, 2013

Reconstruction using measurements from two sensors. Credit: arXiv:1306.3946 [cs.IT]

Reconstruction using measurements from two sensors. Credit: arXiv:1306.3946 [cs.IT]

A research team from Bell Labs that developed a lensless camera has now improved upon the design by adding a second pixel to the sensor used to read data coming through an aperture array. In their paper uploaded to the preprint server arXiv, the team describes how they added a second pixel to the sensor that reads incoming light from the aperture array. Doing so required additional programming of code on an associated computer to take advantage of the additional data provided by a slightly different view of the object being captured.

The camera is part of ongoing research by several groups into a technique known as optical sensing. Such devices consist of an aperture array that can be programmed to randomly allow light to pass through some of its cells, but not others. It sits between a light source and a single pixel sensor that picks up the light that passes through the array. To create an image, multiple shots are taken, each with a different random pattern created on the aperture array. The computer generates the multiple array patterns and uses the data from the sensor to create an image. In this new effort, the team added a second pixel to the tri-color sensor providing two new benefits.

The first benefit is that it allows for the creation of an image in half the time. Since data from both sensors is married via computer software into one image, rather than producing two images, twice as much data is sent during each snapshot.

The second benefit is that the addition of the second pixel allows for a higher quality image to be created. This is because the two pixels get a slightly different view of the light coming through the array, offering more data per individual shot.

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