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Olympus develops prototype image sensor that captures color and near-infrared simultaneously

By Shawn Knight · 5 replies
Jun 8, 2016
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  1. Japanese imaging specialist Olympus in partnership with researchers from the Tokyo Institute of Technology have developed a prototype image sensor capable of capturing both color and near-infrared information simultaneously.

    The prototype sensor is able to pull off this feat by utilizing a modified Bayer RGB filter. As Digital Trends explains, most image sensors in use today employ this type of sensor which dictates which pixels capture which colors. The standard layout is known as RGGB (red, green, green, blue) and can be seen in the graphic below.

    Olympus’ prototype replaces the red or blue pixel on every other sequence with a near-infrared pixel which allows it to capture near-infrared data. The result, of course, is a sensor that can capture both color and near-infrared information with a single click of the shutter.

    A camera equipped with a hybrid filter such as this could be useful in a variety of fields including robotics, agriculture, medical imaging and security.

    Personally, I’m interested in seeing how it would perform compared to digital cameras that have been modified specifically for infrared photography. I dabbled in the area of false color infrared photography briefly several years back although admittedly, I never fully grasped the exact specifics of what I was doing.

    Nevertheless, I was able to capture a handful of decent images and wouldn’t mind trying it again sometime.

    Lead image courtesy Alex Yeung, Shutterstock

    Permalink to story.

  2. Chazz

    Chazz TS Evangelist Posts: 679   +75

    Forgive my ignorance but, what does this mean? How does it benefit those fields? What is that picture actually of? I don't think that's snow...atleast it looks weird.
  3. Yynxs

    Yynxs TS Addict Posts: 201   +78

    ^^Refers you to this article which has some comparison pics:

    Aviator747 says:
    By doing this you make you camera become more sensitive to IR “Infrared”. To the typical photographer this is useless. BUT, to someone who couples their camera to a telescope this is great. You can pick up much fainter stars and galaxies.

    This doing this to a camera that you will be using to take normal pictures is pointless. Unless you like looking at pics with a lot of red hue.

    Captain Zeros says:
    Hey, also, if you put a piece of developed film in as a new filter(*1*) , it will filter out everything but IR light, giving you an entertaining toy. This is the kind of fun thing that one does to a cheap webcam though. I did that to one cheap webcam I have, and now it works excellently in low light, but the color is washed out and it is very gray. Entertaining toy though.

    *1*-this may be required because the focal length of the lens may be dependent on the ir filter being in place.

    is a commercial page that talks about their professionally altering digital cameras and the use you get out of it.
    This page is designed to help you decide which filter you’d like to be installed in your camera. We recommend you also watch the video which explains the various filter differences and how to manipulate the images in Photoshop. Then download and play with the RAW files or at least open the jpegs in Photoshop and try things out. This should help you decide which filter to have us install.

  4. Arris

    Arris TS Evangelist Posts: 4,647   +405

    There are a lot of people that have cameras modified(by companies specializing in the modification, and not cheap either) to do IR photography, of course that then renders the camera useless for normal photography. This could be successful in this niché as those interested in this area won't then have to carry two cameras.
    JaredTheDragon likes this.
  5. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 8,647   +3,280

    What use would this be to the consumer?
  6. Yynxs

    Yynxs TS Addict Posts: 201   +78

    The same use as any other piece of tech. No one starts out a photographer. Everyone starts out taking pictures. Some become photos and some become dross and some just fade away.

    Nothing prevents hardware and software filtering of these elements in the image captured. Allowing IR only lets consumers see a different view of the same scene that's not naked eyelike. Just heat/cold in a house is useful if you read an article about insulation. Overall, if this is eventually included in all digital pictures an entirely new view of everything familiar is possible.

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