Colloquium: Joseph E. Ford

    Thursday, October 15, 2015 - 3:30pm - 5:00pm
    Meinel 307

    "Panoramic Imaging with Spherically-Symmetric Optics"


    Most wide-angle digital cameras use complex lens systems, such as a retro-telephoto "fisheye" lens, and detect the image formed on a single CMOS focal plane. But wide-angle film cameras based on concentric spherical surfaces date back to the 19th century, and such "monocentric" lenses can easily form multi-gigapixel images. The primary difficulty lies in translating the image surface into digital data, because deeply curved spherical image sensors are currently impossible to make. In this talk I will describe the optical design of high performance monocentric lenses, and show how they have been integrated into panoramic cameras, concentrating on recent results from the DARPA "SCENICC" research program. These imagers transfer the signal using dense multimode fiber bundles, introducing challenges and opportunities in system integration and image processing. The current prototype is a compact 25Mpixel per frame camera, with a 127° field of view F/1.35 12mm focal length monocentric lens coupled to a full-frame color CMOS sensor by the curved fibers from a 2.9 micron pitch tapered fiber bundle.Video taken with this imager compares well to a dramatically larger conventional DSLR benchmark camera, and the end goal of the program is a 360˚ video camera intended for cinematic-grade panoramic virtual reality imaging. 

    Speaker Bio(s): 

    Joseph Ford is a Professor of ECE at the University of California San Diego. He leads the Photonics Systems Integration Lab, which does free-space optical system design and prototyping for applications that have included free-space communications, fiber optic switching, solar concentrators, lighting, and especially on compact high-performance imaging. Dr. Ford has degrees in Physics from UCLA and the University of British Columbia, in Optical Engineering from Rochester's Institute of Optics, and a Ph.D. in Applied Physics from UCSD. In Bell Labs Advanced Photonics Research Department he demonstrated the first MEMS spectral equalizer and wavelength add/drop switches, and later became Chief Scientist of Optical Micro-Machines before joining UCSD in 2002. Dr. Ford was General Co-Chair of the first IEEE Conference on Optical MEMS in 2000, and General Co-Chair for the 2008 OSA/IEEE Optical Fiber Communications Conference. Dr. Ford is an OSA Fellow, and co-author over 200 journal articles and conference proceedings and inventor on more than 47 United States patents.