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Thursday, August 31, 2006

Mitsubishi Electric Develops Deblurring Flutter Shutter Camera

By Karen M. Cheung, Digital Camera Info

August 30, 2006—Following this month’s 33rd Annual Siggraph Conference in Boston, MA, a research team at Mitsubishi Electric is catching the attention of camera manufacturers for their photo motion deblurring technology, called a flutter shutter camera.

The flutter shutter camera is a modified camera that can capture moving objects at an exposure time of over 50 milliseconds, like high speed motion cameras. Using a coded exposure sequence, the new flutter shutter camera could recover text from a speeding car and sharpen images, according to the researchers.

Introduced in early August, three Mitsubishi Electric researchers presented the abstract, “Coded Exposure Photography: Motion Deblurring using Fluttered Shutter” at the largest computer and graphics conference, Siggraph. After one year of research development, Mitsubishi Electric Research Lab (MERL) senior researcher Ramesh Raskar, MERL visiting researcher Amit Agrawal, and Northwestern University computer science assistant professor Jack Tumblin launched the new prototype with the goal of deblurring photos....

READ ON

Posted by: MIKE JOHNSTON, with thanks to Adam McA.

5 Comments:

Anonymous Gary K. Froehlich said...

Mike,
These are interesting developments. Perhaps before long, we'll choose any old aperture and any old speed (or maybe cameras will only offer one of each), point-and-click in the general direction of the action, and then extract the desired the photo later with software.

Here's a similar scheme for placing focus in the plane of your choice after the exposure. I think this was once posted on LL.

http://graphics.stanford.edu/papers/lfcamera/

And here's a different approach for achieving much the same purpose.

http://www.siam.org/pdf/news/334.pdf

The Mitsubishi researchers might be taken more seriously if the apply their deconvolution method to a blurry photo of a moving box of Crayons. ;-)

10:33 AM  
Anonymous Aaron Bredon said...

Interesting technology. However, I see some limitations that will keep it from showing up in normal cameras:
1. It needs a high-speed leaf shutter - no focal-plane shutter is fast enough (you would have to fire and recock the shutter many times during a 1/30s exposure). Electronic shutters will also not work, due to the need to continue exposing the sensor over multiple periods during the exposure.
2. It will dramatically increase the wear on the shutter mechanism, shortening the life of the camera body. (20+ shutter actuations/exposure would turn an ultra-durable 1 million actuation shutter into a 50,000 exposure shutter.)

I can see this being used in very expensive cameras like those used in satellite imagery or in fixed-lens digicams (which often use the aperture as a leaf shutter, and the small apertures used make it possible to open and close the shutter quickly.), but I don't think it will show up in SLRs or any affordable large-chip camera.

12:03 PM  
Blogger Adam McAnaney said...

Aaron,

I don't think the camera uses a physical shutter. If you look at the picture from the PowerPoint slide at the bottom of the article, it looks like works a little differently. Some sort of filter seems to be mounted in front of the lens. This filter is presumably made of some sort of material that changes opacity depending on electrical current. In other words it seems like to flip back and forth between a powerful ND filter and a transparent glass filter depending on electrical signals. The actual physical camera shutter is probably left open the whole time (in Bulb mode). Accordingly, this shouldn't cause excessive where on the shutter mechanism. It may, however, be necessary to replace the "flutter shutter filter" every so often. (Obviously I have no idea whether these things wear out!)

Best regards,
Adam

3:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No more tripods!

1:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mitsubishi owns Nikon. Wonder why they used a Canon camera for this experiment.

4:18 AM  

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