Researchers turn pane of glass into see-through lens-less camera

August 24, 2018 // By Julien Happich
Researchers turn pane of glass into see-through lens-less camera
Using computational imaging for reverse image reconstruction, researchers at the University of Utah were able to record readable images from objects as seen through a pane of glass, merely from collecting the scattered light rays at one rough edge of the panel fitted with a lens-less CMOS image sensor.

Unlike conventional cameras that block the view from the scene they are recording (with their sensor facing the object), here the sensor is turned 90º away from the scene, directly facing the rough edge of a transparent window. But since all other edges of the window were designed smooth and covered with reflective tape, the window pane acts as a scattering medium allowing light rays from a scene to reach the sensor within its acceptance angle.

In their paper "Computational imaging enables a “see-through” lens-less camera" published in the Optics Express journal, the researchers detail how they first had to experimentally measure the scattered image for all the individual emitting points of a LED array to determine the point-spread function (PSF) of the system, that is, the optical transformation from a light source coming from outside the window and eventually reaching the sensor pixels).

Once the point-spread function determined, they were able to capture images of arbitrary objects (displaying simple patterns with their 32x32 test LED array) and reconstruct the images by solving the linear inverse of that function.

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