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Ultrathin but Fully Packaged High-Resolution Camera
- Biologically inspired ultrathin arrayed camera captures super-resolution images. - The unique structures of biological vision systems in nature inspired scientists to design ultracompact imaging systems. A research group led by Professor Ki-Hun Jeong have made an ultracompact camera that captures high-contrast and high-resolution images. Fully packaged with micro-optical elements such as inverted micro-lenses, multilayered pinhole arrays, and gap spacers on the image sensor, the camera boasts a total track length of 740 μm and a field of view of 73°. Inspired by the eye structures of the paper wasp species Xenos peckii, the research team completely suppressed optical noise between micro-lenses while reducing camera thickness. The camera has successfully demonstrated high-contrast clear array images acquired from tiny micro lenses. To further enhance the image quality of the captured image, the team combined the arrayed images into one image through super-resolution imaging. An insect’s compound eye has superior visual characteristics, such as a wide viewing angle, high motion sensitivity, and a large depth of field while maintaining a small volume of visual structure with a small focal length. Among them, the eyes of Xenos peckii and an endoparasite found on paper wasps have hundreds of photoreceptors in a single lens unlike conventional compound eyes. In particular, the eye structures of an adult Xenos peckii exhibit hundreds of photoreceptors on an individual eyelet and offer engineering inspiration for ultrathin cameras or imaging applications because they have higher visual acuity than other compound eyes. For instance, Xenos peckii’s eye-inspired cameras provide a 50 times higher spatial resolution than those based on arthropod eyes. In addition, the effective image resolution of the Xenos peckii’s eye can be further improved using the image overlaps between neighboring eyelets. This unique structure offers higher visual resolution than other insect eyes. The team achieved high-contrast and super-resolution imaging through a novel arrayed design of micro-optical elements comprising multilayered aperture arrays and inverted micro-lens arrays directly stacked over an image sensor. This optical component was integrated with a complementary metal oxide semiconductor image sensor. This is first demonstration of super-resolution imaging which acquires a single integrated image with high contrast and high resolving power reconstructed from high-contrast array images. It is expected that this ultrathin arrayed camera can be applied for further developing mobile devices, advanced surveillance vehicles, and endoscopes. Professor Jeong said, “This research has led to technological advances in imaging technology. We will continue to strive to make significant impacts on multidisciplinary research projects in the fields of microtechnology and nanotechnology, seeking inspiration from natural photonic structures.” This work was featured in Light Science & Applications last month and was supported by the National Research Foundation (NRF) of and the Ministry of Health and Welfare (MOHW) of Korea. Image credit: Professor Ki-Hun Jeong, KAIST Image usage restrictions: News organizations may use or redistribute this image, with proper attribution, as part of news coverage of this paper only. Publication: Kisoo Kim, Kyung-Won Jang, Jae-Kwan Ryu, and Ki-Hun Jeong. (2020) “Biologically inspired ultrathin arrayed camera for high-contrast and high-resolution imaging”. Light Science & Applications. Volume 9. Article 28. Available online at https://doi.org/10.1038/s41377-020-0261-8 Profile: Ki-Hun Jeong Professor firstname.lastname@example.org http://biophotonics.kaist.ac.kr/ Department of Bio and Brain Engineering KAIST Profile: Kisoo Kim Ph.D. Candidate email@example.com http://biophotonics.kaist.ac.kr/ Department of Bio and Brain Engineering KAIST (END)
Team KAT Wins the Autonomous Car Challenge
(Team KAT receiving the Presidential Award) A KAIST team won the 2018 International Autonomous Car Challenge for University Students held in Daegu on November 2. Professor Seung-Hyun Kong from the ChoChunShik Graduate School of Green Transportation and his team participated in this contest with the team named KAT (KAIST Autonomous Technologies). The team received the Presidential Award with a fifty million won cash prize and an opportunity for a field trip abroad. The competition was conducted on actual roads with Connected Autonomous Vehicles (CAV), which incorporate autonomous driving technologies and vehicle-to-everything (V2X) communication system. In this contest, the autonomous vehicles were given a mission to pick up passengers or parcels. Through the V2X communication, the contest gave current location of the passengers or parcels, their destination, and service profitability according to distance and level of service difficulty. The participating vehicles had to be equipped very accurate and robust navigation system since they had to drive on narrow roads as well as go through tunnels where GPS was not available. Moreover, they had to use camera-based recognition technology that was invulnerable to backlight as the contest was in the late afternoon. The contest scored the mission in the following way: the vehicles get points if they pick up passengers and safely drop them off at their destination; on the other hand, points are deducted when they violate lanes or traffic lights. It will be a major black mark if a participant sitting in the driver’s seat needs to get involved in driving due to a technical issue. Youngbo Shim of KAT said, “We believe that we got major points for technical superiority in autonomous driving and our algorithm for passenger selection.” This contest, hosted by Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, was the first international competition for autonomous driving on actual roads. A total of nine teams participated in the final contest, four domestic teams and five teams allied with overseas universities such as Tsinghua University, Waseda University, and Nanyang Technological University. Professor Kong said, “There is still a long way to go for fully autonomous vehicles that drive flexibly under congested traffic conditions. However, we will continue to our research in order to achieve high-quality autonomous driving technology.” (Team KAT getting ready for the challenge)
Award Winning Portable Sound Camera Design
- A member of KAIST’s faculty has won the “Red Dot Design Award,” one of three of the most prestigious design competitions in the world, for the portable sound camera. KAIST’s Industrial Design Professor Suk-Hyung Bae’s portable sound camera design, made by SM Instruments and Hyundai, has received a “Red Dot Design Award: Product Design,” one of the most prestigious design competitions in the world. If you are a driver, you must have experienced unexplained noises in your car. Most industrial products, including cars, may produce abnormal noises caused by an error in design or worn-out machinery. However, it is difficult to identify the exact location of the sound with ears alone. This is where the sound camera comes in. Just as thermal detector cameras show the distribution of temperature, sound cameras use a microphone arrangement to express the distribution of sound and to find the location of the sound. However, existing sound cameras are not only too big and heavy, their assembly and installation are complex and must be fixed on a tripod. These limitations made it impossible to measure noises from small areas or the base of cars. The newly developed product is an all-in-one system resolving the inconvenience of assembling the microphone before taking measurements. Moreover, the handle in the middle is ergonomically designed so users can balance its weight with one hand. The two handles on the sides work as a support and enable the user to hold the camera in various ways. At the award ceremony, Professor Suk-Hyung Bae commented, “The effective combination of cutting edge technology and design components has been recognized.” He also said, “It shows the competency of the KAIST’s Department of Industrial Design, which has a high understanding of science and technology.” On the other hand, SM Instruments is a sound vibration specialist company which got its start from KAIST’s Technology Business Incubation Centre in 2006 and earned its independence by gaining proprietary technology in only two years. SM Instruments is contributing to developing national sound and vibration technology through relentless change and innovation. ; Figure 1: Red Dot Design Award winning the portable sound camera, SeeSV-S205 Figure 2: Identifying the location of the noise using the portable sound camera Figure 3: The image showing the sound distribution using the portable sound camera
3D contents using our technology
Professor Noh Jun Yong’s research team from KAIST Graduate School of Culture Technology has successfully developed a software program that improves the semiautomatic conversation rate efficiency of 3D stereoscopic images by 3 times. This software, named ‘NAKiD’, was first presented at the renowned Computer Graphics conference/exhibition ‘Siggraph 2012’ in August and received intense interest from the participants. The ‘NAKiD’ technology is forecasted to replace the expensive imported equipment and technology used in 3D filming. For multi-viewpoint no-glasses 3D stereopsis, two cameras are needed to film the image. However, ‘NAKiD’ can easily convert images from a single camera into a 3D image, greatly decreasing the problems in the film production process as well as its cost. There are 2 methods commonly used in the production of 3D stereoscopic images; filming using two cameras and the 3D conversion using computer software. The use of two cameras requires expensive equipment and the filmed images need further processing after production. On the other hand, 3D conversion technology does not require extra devices in the production process and can also convert the existing 2D contents into 3D, a main reason why many countries are focusing on the development of stereoscopic technology. Stereoscopic conversion is largely divided in to 3 steps; object separation, formation of depth information and stereo rendering. Professor Noh’s teams focused on the optimization of each step to increase the efficiency of the conversion system. Professor Noh’s research team first increased the separation accuracy to the degree of a single hair and created an algorithm that automatically fills in the background originally covered by the separated object. The team succeeded in the automatic formation of depth information using the geographic or architectural characteristic and vanishing points. For the stereo rendering process, the team decreased the rendering time by reusing the rendered information of one side, rather than the traditional method of rendering the left and right images separately. Professor Noh said that ‘although 3D TVs are becoming more and more commercialized, there are not enough programs that can be watched in 3D’ and that ‘stereoscopic conversion technology is receiving high praise in the field of graphics because it allows the easy production of 3D contents with small cost’.
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