Designers of advanced digital imaging systems are frequently challenged with considering not only the optics and sensor, but also the effects of image processing in the selection of the best architecture to meet their system objectives. Leveraging the image processing degree of freedom presents a considerable opportunity if one incorporates system-level metrics in the design and optimization process. Including the image processing degree of freedom also significantly expands the set of solutions and enables different trades of performance, cost, size, weight, and power. Here, we demonstrate the opportunity available to the system designer by exploring the design of a wide angle system intended to maximize a system-level human visual performance metric. The resulting system solutions span a range of optical, optomechanical, and signal processing complexity and show systems with a wide range of size and cost.
A foveated imager providing a panoramic field of view with simultaneous region of interest optical zoom for use on a
micro unmanned aerial vehicle is described. The foveated imager reduces size, weight and power by imaging both wide
and telephoto fields onto a single detector. The balance of resolution between panoramic and zoom fields is optimized
against the goals of threat detection and identification with a small unmanned aerial system, resulting in a 3X reduction
in target identification time compared to conventional systems. A description of the design trades and the evaluation of a
prototype electro-optical system are provided.
Several methods have been demonstrated for desensitization of a lens design to manufacturing errors with the result of
increased as-built performance at the expense of a slightly reduced nominal performance. A recent study demonstrated a
targeted desensitization method tuned for the most sensitive lens parameters can greatly increase yield for a known set of
manufacturing tolerances. The effectiveness of such a targeted desensitization relies on two key pieces of information;
lens sensitivities and manufacturing tolerance distributions. Targeted desensitization to known and unknown
manufacturing tolerances is examined with an example demonstrating the impact of designing to unknown, bounded
manufacturing tolerance distributions.
We present a method for passive ranging with incoherent light. The scheme uses a single optical channel and is particularly suitable for locating and ranging particles. Our aim is to create an optical system with increased discrimination among depth planes as compared to classical clear aperture solutions. We thus propose a criterion for evaluating a general point spread function for use in passive ranging. Then, we show that rotating point spread functions are good according to this criterion. An experimental realization of the point spread function by use of a computer-generated hologram is presented as well as a simulation of its depth discrimination.
Imaging systems using aspheric imaging lenses with complementary computation can deliver performance unobtainable in conventional imaging systems. These new imaging systems, termed Wavefront coded imaging systems, use specialized optics to capture a coded image of the scene. Decoding the intermediate image provides the "human-usable" image expected of an imaging system. Computation for the decoding step can be made completely transparent to the user with today's technology. Real-time Wavefront coded systems are feasible and cost-effective. This "computational imaging" technology can be adapted to solve a wide range of imaging problems. Solutions include the ability to provide focus-free imaging, to increase the field of view, to increase the depth of read, to correct for aberrations (even in single lens systems), and to account for assembly and temperature induced misalignment. Wavefront coded imaging has been demonstrated across a wide range of applications, including microscopy, miniature cameras, machine vision systems, infrared imaging systems and telescopes.