KaleidoCamera Adds HDR and Lytro-Like Focusing to Your DSLR

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Alkhazur Manakov of Saarland University has developed a reconfigurable camera add-on which gives the user more control over the light before it reaches the cameras sensor. This nifty little prototype sits between the body and the lens of the camera, and multiplies the image into 9 filterable copies which can then be recombined as the user wishes. With minor adjustments to its configuration the prototype KaleidoCamera will add new capabilities to cameras such as High Dynamic Range, polarization, Multispectral, and Light field imaging.

Alkhazur Manakov’s KaleidoCamera will be officially presented this month at the Siggraph conference in Anaheim. Alkhazur says the team is working on miniaturizing it and that much of the prototype’s current size simply makes it easier for the researchers to tweak it for new experiments.

“A considerable engineering effort will be required to downsize the add-on and increase image quality and effective resolution,” says Yosuke Bando, a visiting scientist at the MIT Media Lab. “But it has potential to lead to exchangeable SLR lenses and cellphone add-ons.”

Light Field Configuartion:

KaleidoCamera: Light FieldKaleidoCamera in the Light Field configuration

The image below is of the KaleidoCamera in the ‘Light Field’ Configuration (with its diffuser removed) which enables sub-sampling of viewing directions. The image in the center is a direct view of the scene (without reflections), while the outer images have been flipped because of the mirror reflection in the KaleidoCamera. Pay attention to the parallax at the left of the pirate. In the central sub-image it is slightly occluded by Buddha’s right shoulder, in the left image in the second row the leg is fully visible, and in the right image it is occluded.

High Dynamic Range:

KaleidoCamera: High Dynamic RangeKaleidoCamera in filter based configuration using ND filters

In the filter-based configuration, the KaleidoCamera works with the diffuser and interchangeable filters, in this case neutral density filters. The diffuser functions as a back projection screen and enables physical image copying avoiding parallax.


MultispectralKaleidoCamera in Multispectral configuration

Under filter-based configuration with wide-band spectral filters gives one the ablity to reconstruct the spectrum of the scene.


IMG_320KaleidoCamera in polarization configuration

For polarization imaging it is essential to use a polarization-preserving diffuser. Such diffusers are commonly used for polarization-based stereo projection. In this case they have used linear polarization filters with orientations of 0, 45, 90 degrees. This ability allows capture of Stokes parameters for every pixel. The logo on the left (central sub-image) is shown on the screen, whereas the logo on the right is printed on paper. The paper acts as a diffuser and destroys the LCD’s light polarization. Thus the logo displayed on the screen is polarized, and the one on the paper is depolarized.


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