Scientists have developed a revolutionary way of capturing a high-resolution still image alongside very high-speed video.
By combining off-the-shelf technologies found in standard cameras and digital movie projectors, they have successfully created a tool that will transform many forms of detailed scientific imaging.
They could also provide access to high-speed video with high-resolution still images from the same camera at a price suitable for the consumer market.
This could have everyday applications for everything from CCTV to sports photography and is already interesting the scientific imaging sector.
The technology has been patented by Isis Innovation, University of Oxford’s technology transfer office.
Peter Kohl from Oxford, behind the project, said: “Anyone who has ever tried to take photographs or video of a high-speed scene, like football or motor racing, even with a fairly decent digital SLR, will know that it’s very difficult to get a sharp image because the movement causes blurring.
“We have the same problem in science, where we may miss really vital information like very rapid changes in intensity of light from fluorescent molecules that tell us about what is happening inside a cell.”
“Having a massive 10 or 12 megapixel sensor, as many cameras now do, does absolutely nothing to improve this situation,” said Kohl.
“Gil Bub from my team then came up with a really great idea to bring together high-resolution still images and high-speed video footage, at the same time and on the same camera chip — ‘the real motion picture’!
“The sort of cameras researchers would normally need to get similar high-speed footage can set you back tens of thousands of pounds, but Bub’s invention does so at a fraction of this cost,” said Kohl.
“What’s new about this is that the picture and video are captured at the same time on the same sensor,” said Bub.
“This is done by allowing the camera’s pixels to act as if they were part of tens, or even hundreds of individual cameras taking pictures in rapid succession during a single normal exposure,” added Bub.
The research was published in the Nature Methods.