4D Cameras for Cars and Virtual Reality

4D Cameras for Cars and Virtual Reality

Scientists at Stanford have created a 4D camera that could be replace the present 3D cameras, especially in autonomous cars and drones, according to an article published by Stanford University in July 2017.

The camera is capable of capturing 140 degrees of information in one image, which is more information gathered by conventional cameras in a single image. This is the first single lens design with a wide field of view and a light field camera. The four dimensional results of this camera are secured by its large reliance on light field photograph. This means that when light hits the lens, the camera observes and records its direction and distance from the lens, bundling it with the obtained 2D image. The robot eyes thus, has the ability to refocus images that are already captured, which makes up for the most popular feature of light field photography. This is similar to the small device called Lytro, which can adjust the focus of an image, with the help of light field imaging technique.

Researchers have compared 2D images to peepholes, due to the fact that they do not require you to move your head around to gain more information about depth, translucency or light scattering. Whereas, 4D images are similar to looking through a window as you can easily identify shapes, transparency and glossiness.

At present, the robot is still in its proof-of-concept stage and is quite huge for actual use. The aim is to further develop a smaller and lighter versions that can be tested on robots.

These 4D cameras are the future for various types of robots and machines. They could be used to refocus images and gain close-up views in search-and-rescue robots. They can also be used in self-driving cars while navigating through narrow roads and in augmented reality.

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