The possibility of capturing panoramic scenery has attracted opticians since the
beginning of the 20th century. Panoramic annular lenses, multicamera systems,
and dynamic scene capture have been used to achieve panorama. This Spotlight
focuses on omnidirectional lenses, i.e., lenses that can capture whole scenarios
using only one lens. The introduction of digital sensors into the mass market at
the end of the last century permitted the development of useful applications of
such optics. In fact, a panoramic image as produced by a lens is "unintelligible"
to an observer, and strong optical distortions must be corrected. The introduction of digital sensors replaced the previously "analogic" (film) sensors so that image distortions could be corrected (dewarped) in an easy and real-time way. This factor makes panoramic omnidirectional lenses useful in many applications.
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