The invention is suitable for applications such as interactive displays, machine vision systems, autonomous navigation, 3D movies, visible light photography, medical applications and infrared imaging for military and industrial applications.
The full, five-dimensional (5D) light field can be obtained from the 4D parameterized light field. The major challenge is that current devices for constructing 4D light field from 2D images are either bulky or low resolution. This makes them unsuitable for a variety of consumer and industrial applications.
The invention is a camera that includes an actively addressable aperture, otherwise known as a digital aperture, that is positioned ahead of the rear surface of a camera lens. The actively addressable aperture is moved over the entire aperture plane and an image is taken at each position. This yields a 2D grid of 2D photos that can be assembled into a 4D parameterized light field. The many different-perspective images can be used to calculate the 3D depth of the object being imaged, resulting in a 3D model with 2D surface irradiance patterns, which is the full 5D, non-parameterized light field.
- The camera can be compact and have higher resolution than plenoptic cameras.
- Simpler and faster than other 5D light cameras.
- It can be adaptable for imaging at any wavelength.