Hovering unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) – most of which take the form of quadrocopters – are currently being developed for a wide range of applications. Some of these include the delivery of supplies to remote locations, urban reconnaissance, and military operations. Whether they’re flying solo or in organized swarms, however, they constantly need to be aware of potential collision hazards, both mobile and stationary. While various technologies are already being utilized for this purpose, Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute for Microelectronic Circuits and Systems has developed a new 3D CMOS sensor, that promises particularly good performance.
Imagine viewing concert footage where the foreground vocalist is in the same sharp focus as the background musicians. With the simultaneous, real-time, near and far field focus capabilities offered by the Omni-focus video camera developed by Professor Keigo Iizuka, such a thing may not be too far off. Using a new distance mapping principle, an array of video cameras and some clever software the technique brings objects at varying distances into high resolution sharp focus.