Fraunhofer Brings High-Def to Minicams

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With the deployment of high-definition video sweeping the the entertainment, sports, and journalism business, Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute wanted to tackle a difficult problem: how do we get high-definition video from the perspective of, say, a sports car driver, jet pilot, or ski jumper?

To that end, the folks at Fraunhofer have developed a MicroHDTV high-definition capable mini camera, measuring just 4 by 4 by 8 centimeters and capable of capturing 1,920 by 1,080-pixel video at 60 frames per second – that’s not only a high enough resolution to accommodate 1080p resolution, but fast enough to get some slow motion footage out of crucial plays…or agonizing crashes.

“The MicroHDTV model is one of the smallest HDTV cameras currently available,” says Stephan Gick, group leader at the IIS, in a release. “We achieved this chiefly by taking two different approaches: the camera’s electronics have a very low power loss, which means that little heat is generated and the housing can thus be kept very small. By using highly integrated parts, we were able to fit all of the components such as the image sensor, the analog-to-digital converter, the color processor and several interfaces into the tiny space available inside the camera.”

The camera’s color settings, white balance, and frame rate can all be configured via software, and the entire camera can also be controlled via the Internet or standard optical systems. “Because the camera is so small and can be controlled via the Internet, it can deliver pictures of scenes that could not be viewed in the same way before—for example, recordings of sports events or applications that require the camera to be installed in difficult-to-reach places,” said Gick.

Fraunhofer developed the camera for Integrated Circuits IIS in Erlangen, and expects the camera will soon be in products from a variety of licensees.

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