Tuesday, July 11, 2000

Phase Arrayed Camera

12 Inventions that Will ( Maybe ) Change The World

Phase Arrayed Camera

The difference between a normal camera & a Phase Arrayed Camera is that latter is an Matrix / or 2 Dimensional Lattice of Many Cameras that may or may-not be on a flat plane.
A Type ( A ) Array would something like this...
Each 'o' would be a comparatively inexpensive Camera...

o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o
o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o
o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o
o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o
o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o
o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o
o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o
o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o
o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o

A Type ( B ) Array would consist of Different kinds of Camera's,
Such that Some would See 'Visible Light'
While other would view into the Inferred, UltraViolet, MicroWave, Radio Waves
Or whatever would be available...???

It may be desirable to wrap the array around a pillar,
or assemble it onto a sphere so that the array can look in many different directions.
Then: This array may be accessed by any number of work-stations that have free & autonomous control over the whole array.
This means that once an array is in place, Operators from all over the world, or within a given security network facility, or entertainment center; May use The Array as if Any Given Operator were the only person using it.

What could you do with These Arrays?

  1. Resolution
    While each camera would be a Fixed Focus, Pinhole Camera, with comparatively poor resolution, Collectively-- They would have Virtually Infinite Resolution...!
    Limited only by Air Quality & Diffusion...!
    Consider that each Camera is producing an Image of Pixels,
    The Camera next to it; Is seeing essentially the same view, but from a slightly different position, So that if you were to Overlay the two images, The Pixels would be 'Out of Registration'. Then Create a 'New Picture' with a Resolution Much Higher than the Ones The Camera's are Producing, So that If you Interrogate each Raw Image as to what colour an Enhanced Pixel Value should be, ( These are much smaller than the Raw Image Pixels ), This Mismatch provides a computer analysis of the pixels colour approximations with additional information that neither camera can see for itself...!
    Now multiply this by
    The Entire Array...!
    Plus; if the Array were to 'Jiggle' a little, either by accident or design, Consecutive images could be added from Series of Arrayed Images, Further increasing the Overall Resolution of the Composite Super Image...!!!
    An Array Operator could Zoom and Zoom & Zoom on a Stationary Object, Miles from the Array, Allowing The Resolution to 'Build Up' to The Desired Quality!
  2. Simple Tricks
    The Operator could Pan from Side to Side, Rotate an Image, Zoom In or Out, Change The Images Contrast or Brightness, Flip an Image Upside Down or Create a Mirror Reflection, Without disturbing the work of any of The Other Operators...
  3. Depth
    The Array would also assign A Three Dimensional Attribute to Each Pixel!
    Since each Camera is viewing a Scene from a slightly different position, It would be simple to extract the 3D Position from each Pixel!
  4. Removing Planes
    Since each pixel has a Depth component, you could easily tell the computer to ignore all the pixels from zero to twenty feet from The Array, so that people or objects in front of the person or object that The Operator is Interested in, would just Disappear.
    Any Persons or Object behind these extracted Pixels would be Filled In from Views from the Many Other Cameras.
    By Isolating a Person or Object within a Given Range, you would have the effect of a 'Blue Screen' in an Open Air Environment.
    When using a Hand-Held Unit, This feature could remove a Dirty Window that you're trying to Image through... or Erase The Background, and place an archived one into your image that you've previously stored away.
  5. See Around Corners
    While you wouldn't be able to see things that The Array couldn't see, The 3D element would allow you to Create 'Reliefs' that you could 'Freeze' and then Rotate from side to side, Increasing your view from Straight On to being able to see a Person or Object as if you were walking back & forth Parallel to them...
    If you were combine the Viewing Data from Multiple Arrays--
    Say; In an Airport, Although the Arrays and Operators would to Stationary, The Operator could Pan or 'Walk' through the Area Covered in a Virtual Manner...???
    Even if you had access to only One Array, It would be possible to 'Project' the View into 3D Space, then 'Detach' The Operator's Point of View [ Floating Eyeball ], So that they could roam freely throughout the 3D Space...
    But of course; They wouldn't be able to see The Backs of The People or Objects in that space...
  6. ...Unless; You're Using a Type ( B ) Array
    Using a Type ( B ) Array with Full ElectroMagnetic Spectrum Vision would allow The Operator to See Through most Barriers, Such as Walls, Furniture, Clothing & Skin!
    Each additional Pixel would retain it's 3D position, so that you could effectively form 3D Spaces and use your Floating Eyeball to view around all People & Objects!
  7. Using The Visual Array to 'Hear!'
    If you were using a ( B ) Array to see into a building across the Street, It may be possible to use The Array to find a large loosely fitted surface; Such as a Window, and then analyze The Doppler Effect on an Appropriate Frequency to Hear what is being said in that room...???
  8. Fancy Camera Tricks
    There are many Camera Effects that require the camera to roll through a viewing space, changing lens positions and focus points...
    But The Array can do all that while sitting still...!
    You just have to pick out The Pixels you want, and view them according to The Criteria that your Envision.
    There's one trick that consists of Pulling the Camera Back in Physical Space, while Zooming into the Subject with an Appropriate Lens--
    Resulting in the Subject;
    Popping Out from The Background!
    This could easily be accomplished with The Array, Without moving The Array or Changing The Camera's Preset Focus Ranges.
  9. Any Lens You Want
    The Array could easily Simulate Not Only Macro or Micro Lens, But Telephoto, WideAngle or even Those Crazy Novelty Len's, Such as Insect Eyes or House of Mirrors...
  10. Seeing Through Stuff
    Obviously; If you're viewing with parts of spectrum that are Non-Visible, you'll have to Shift those Images to your Viewing Range... So that you can Assign any colours you want.
    It may be possible to tell The Array Computer to 'Predict' what colours are 'Natural' after penetrating a wall or peeling back several layers of clothing...
  11. Additional Information
    Very often; When you see An Object, you can tell just from what colour it is, what it's made of...
    This principle would hold true when viewing along The Entire Spectrum, so that you could have The Array's Computer compare 'The Colours' from Several Ranges in the E.M.Spectrum to definitively tell what a Material is Made Of, or What Alloy it is,
    or Reveal What a Material's Chemical Signature is or To divulge What a Particular Molecule is...!
    So that you could Instantly Identify an UnKnown Substance as being an Illegal Narcotic or Explosive Material!
    You might also be able to Diagnose various Medical Conditions with remarkable accuracy!
  12. The Portable Unit
    The camera would also have the ability to store selected views,
    ( While the whole array may be stored in a short term memory )
    and then compress them, using an optimal information compression routine,
    at it's leisure ( When you're not using the Camera )
    Or if it's local memory is full, or approaching capacity...
    It would call your home computer,
    On it's own, and download your videos to the larger archive in your basement.
  13. Composite Collections
    Obviously; you could select the resolution of the images you want and/or create 180 or 360 panoramas, even if you're hand-held Phase-Arrayed Camera could only see within an angular range of 120 degrees or so...
    Since this 'Assembling' feature is a fundamental function of the array anyway...???
    This may be extended to 'Walk Arounds'--
    Where you would walk around a town, Then Paste all your pictures end to end, To Create a continuous Panorama of The Entire Neighborhood...!
  14. AutoExclusions of Boring Material
    The Array would also be great for Surveillance, Taking in a wide area, but only paying attention to areas that 'become' different from the preceding images or background, It would then save those isolated segments, ( at full resolution ). Later; you could view the entire frame, as the computer would paste the isolated segments back into their contextual backgrounds, ( Which weren't moving around ) and then the operator would be able to use all the normal editing features on these sections.
    Security Agencies could use such approaches to watch rarely used areas, or areas that are rarely involved in criminal activity. It would also eliminate the need for people to sit around in cars, as an array could be hidden anywhere, while a taciturn operator could sit comfortably at a observation station, monitoring dozens of sites.
  15. Anomalous Discoveries...!
    This same ability to 'Notice' anomalous regions and then Zoom In on them, would be great for looking for Flying Saucers, Bigfeet or Lake Monsters.
    For Flying Saucers; The array might cover a Half Sphere and be pointed straight up-- and be mounted on the top of a building in a 'Flapped' Region...???
    This might also be good for Spotting Tornadoes or even keeping an eye on Airplanes at a Airport...?
  16. Identifying What it Sees...???
    Since it's seeing everything as a 3D object anyways, it should be easily able to separate objects from their backgrounds, then orient them along some predefined axes format, so that what it is seeing can be run through a seive to automatically identify it...???

What else could it do...???
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Additional Sources & Related News Items...???

  1. Use of a Phase Array Effect is being used to blend together multiple perspectives of one view, so as to eliminate the effect of the single range focus, in which only one small range of the scene is 'In Focus'.
    Ren Ng of Standford University has produced photographs in which everything, near and far, irregardless of lighting conditions, is In Focus.
    Popular Science March 2006 pp. 36

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