Compressive sensing will find its place
Apr 22, 2015
Using technology that it licensed from Rice University and has since extended, Inview Technology Corporation is making steady progress toward viable single pixel cameras. Inview has posted a helpful white paper that does a good job of explaining the idea and the utility of a compressive sensing camera. They focus on the SWIR (ShortWave InfraRed) market, as this market presently lacks a true low cost image sensor solution akin to what has happened with visible light and Near InfraRed (NIR) devices.
Their solution is going to have impact, perhaps very dramatic impact. But are there limitations? Will traditional focal plane arrays in non-CMOS markets disappear? Probably not. The reason is that there is a limit to how few templates can be applied to an image formation process, and each template requires adequate time for settling and dwell; finally, integration time is required for any signal acquired at the single pixel. So there will be a hard upper limit on how fast an image can be acquired. Today, Inview camera images take 3 seconds to capture for small devices, and 60 seconds for a single HD frame. For a microscope, that’s arguably useful. But the sweet spot for motion video applications is orders of magnitude higher. It will be interesting to see how Inview manages the inevitable tradeoffs between pixel count and frame rate as they continue to grow and release new products.