30 million wearable cameras to ship annually

Abstract tech vector design

Abstract tech vector design

By 2020, wearable camera shipments will surpass 30 million units annually, projects market researcher Tractica — up from 5.6 million in 2014.

The firm adds that GoPro is driving momentum in sports applications but consumer, enterprise, and public safety applications are not far behind. “In many ways, wearable cameras are an extension of the smartphone camera, enabling hands-free functionality that allows users to capture both planned and spontaneous moments from unique perspectives, by using body or head mounts, or simply clipping the camera to clothing. Wearable camera adoption will be strongest in areas where there is a clear and specific use case or context in which the camera is used”

Other areas noted include consumer “lifelogging” cameras, public safety/body-worn cameras for police officers, and enterprise uses such as user experience research in retail and hospitality.

Tractica says its “Wearable Cameras” report analyzes the global market for wearable cameras, providing an assessment of market drivers and barriers, technology issues, and key industry players. The study provides detailed forecasts for wearable camera shipments and revenue across application markets including sports, public safety, consumer, enterprise, industrial, and healthcare.

There’s a free executive summary here.

Red ups rez to 8k

red 8k

red 8k

And here you thought 4k was new (not to mention 1080p):

High-end video camera maker Red announced a 40 x 20mm sensor that captures 8192 x 4320 resolution. That’s right, 8k — or 35 megapixels.

Dubbed the “Weapon,” it will ship by the end of the year, the company says, for $20,000… as an upgrade to an existing camera. (Engadget calculates here that the cost new is about $60k.)

First 13MP four-color RGBW sensor — in a phone

Huawei P8max

Huawei P8max

Huawei says its P8max “introduces a new philosophy for camera design, optimized for low light and high contrast” — with the world’s first 13-megapixel four-color RGBW sensor in a phone.

The Chinese smartphone manufacturer says the sensor in its P8 increases brightness in images by 32 percent. A dedicated image processor reduces noise, particularly in low-light and high-contrast environments.

The P8max edition adds a larger 6.8-inch screen.

MakerBot app turns 2D photo into 3D object

makerbot 3d

makerbot 3d

MakerBot has updated its PrintShop app with a “Shape Maker” feature that it says can “bring your drawings to life in 3D — with no design experience necessary.”

Using the iPad’s camera, the company says, a “snap of a photo and a touch of a finger” are all that’s needed to transform sketches, photos and screen captures into a 3D printable file, without any 3D design experience.

The free iPad app is here.

MakerBot says there are now more than 80,000 MakerBot Desktop 3D printers in use.

MakerBot PrintShop App

Camera powered by light

face from self-powered-digital-camera


“It’s an image sensor and a floor wax a solar panel!”

All cameras capture and record light — but now a Columbia Engineering professor invented a camera that runs without a battery — because the camera itself makes electricity from light.

The prototype video camera can “produce an image each second, indefinitely, of a well-lit indoor scene,” the university reports.

How? Well, the researcher “designed a pixel that can not only measure incident light, but also convert the incident light into electric power.” Using off-the-shelf components, he fabricated an image sensor with 30×40 pixels: each pixel’s photodiode is always operated in the photovoltaic mode. The pixel design uses just two transistors.

face from self-powered-digital-camera

The scientist “realized that although digital cameras and solar panels have different purposes – one measures light while the other converts light to power – both are constructed from essentially the same components. At the heart of any digital camera is an image sensor, a chip with millions of pixels. The key enabling device in a pixel is the photodiode, which produces an electric current when exposed to light. This mechanism enables each pixel to measure the intensity of light falling on it. The same photodiode is also used in solar panels to convert incident light to electric power. The photodiode in a camera pixel is used in the photoconductive mode, while in a solar cell it is used in the photovoltaic model.”

(By the way, the professor also notes that “in the last year alone, approximately two billion cameras of various types were sold worldwide.”)
Here’s the university press release.
Here is the technical paper.



Apple acquires multi-image sensor developer LinX

linx module

linx module

SLR image quality in a phone?…
Last year we reported on the LinX’ technology that captured high-resolution images using an array of lower-res sensors. On Wednesday, The Wall Street Journal reportedApple acquired the developer for approx. $20 million.

The Israeli company last year claimed it could match SLR image quality with lower-cost components thanks to its arrays and algorithms.

In 2013, Apple acquired PrimeSense, the developer of a 3D-sensing imager.

From our previous coverage:

Mobile module combines cameras
“The image quality of mobile cameras has reached a dead end,” claims LinX Computational Imaging. So, of course, they say they have a new route, by developing miniature multi-aperture camera modules.
The mobile modules “are nearly half the height of a standard mobile camera and are capable of creating stunning color images,” the company says… Its ““multi-aperture imaging technologies” combine multiple images “captured from different points in space.” It also has overcome problems such as registration errors and occlusion-related artifacts arising from combining multiple images. The technique also captures accurate depth information, and creates a depth map that can be uses for 3D reconstruction.
There’s more information here.

Expandable remote control in Blackmagic camera



Blackmagic Design says its new Micro Cinema Camera “is the smallest and most expandable digital film camera in the world.”

The $995 camera is a professional digital model in the Super 16mm style. It sports a new expansion port can work with model airplane remote controls “to operate the camera wirelessly for capturing action anywhere,” the company adds. “These radio control receivers are low cost because they are consumer hobby products and they feature multiple “channels” that can be connected direct to the camera itself. This means these channels can be mapped to any camera or lens setting in the camera, and then remote controlled via the radio controller. Customers can then remote control features such as iris, focus, audio levels, and start and stop recording all remotely.”

blackmagic microcinema

Also, the miniaturized design features a body (2.57 x 3.25 x 2.74 inches) that is “not much larger than the Micro Four Thirds lens mount,” the company adds, “making it as small as a camera with a professional lens can be.” Blackmagic says the camera “is perfect for use on quadcopters, as a crash cam, or even hidden on set for reality TV. It’s small enough to be used anywhere, like on a skate board for spectacular extreme sports shots, mounted to a drone for recording panoramic fly overs, or even strapped to a helmet for amazing point of view shots. The miniature size lets you to mount the camera in unique locations, like on bike handles, hang gliders, remote control toy cars, and even on your own body for cinematic quality shots that would be impossible to get with any other camera!”

It captures 1080 HD as 12-bit RAW video, with 13 stops of dynamic range and a switchable 60 fps rolling shutter or 30 fps global shutter.

There’s more information here.

Blackmagic URSAJPG

Blackmagic also announced a new 4K sensor that captures 15 stops of dynamic range.

The Ursa 4.6 is a Super 35 sensor with 4608 x 2592 resolution. It takes 120 frames per second and “images that rival those shot on traditional 35mm film,” the company says.
Cameras with the sensor will ship this summer for about $7,000.

Smarter drone flies itself while you shoot video

solo drone

solo drone

It’s the “first drone designed with every aspect of the photographer’s experience in mind” — and with autonomous flight and camera control, 3D Robotics claims its Solo is “the world’s first smart drone” …which means “you have to do less,” the company says. “We’ve turned the Hollywood toolkit into software, and allowed everyone to experience epic video, both behind and in front of the camera.”

The quadcopter uses twin Linux computers (one on the craft and one in the controller) to “define its own flight, freeing users to focus on getting the shot,” The company says the drone’s intelligence “unlocks powerful and one-of-a-kind computer-assisted Smart Shots. Just set up the exact shot you want in real time, then tap “play” on the app and Solo will execute it with a level of precision and a soft touch that even seasoned cinema pilots can’t match. The effortless computer-assisted Smart Shot flight features allow even new pilots to capture professional aerial video from day one. Effortless flight means effortless filming — less flight control, more creative control.”

solo air view

How smart is it? “Because we use the onboard computer’s processing power to do the heavy lifting,” the company adds, “the autopilot becomes the “brainstem,” exclusively focused on executing the rudiments of stable and reliable flight, while the computer serves as Solo’s “frontal cortex” and handles the higher-level processing; this task distribution dramatically reduces the likelihood of autopilot system failure during flight.”

It’s also the first drone to fully control an onboard GoPro camera (start and stop recording, snap photos, change filed of view, FPS, and exposure compensation). It streams HD video to a mobile device, or through the remote control’s HDMI port.

solo remote view

The Solo is $999, and will fly 20 minutes per charge with the GoPro and gimbal.

Here’s more information.
There’s a preposterously pretentious launch video here.
…And a more straightforward presentation here.

There’s a hands-on review at the Verge here.
It has an interesting conclusion: “Flying Solo is a blast, and yet I’m still not sure I see the regular use case for myself. Getting great shots requires travel, and bringing Solo with me on vacation will mean checking one more bag and lugging it around. There are only so many drone-shot selfies a person needs, no matter how fun they are to shoot. So while I’m convinced Solo will make it easier and more fun for novices to fly drones, I’m skeptical of how much it can broaden the market for drones beyond hobbyists and filmmakers.”

Some other recent drone news:
• No drones at the Boston Marathon
• No drones or selfie sticks at the Kentucky Derby
• Amazon gets FAA exemption to test drone delivery
• Drones will mace you


Nerds fly drones legally, “protect homeowners from rogues”



“According to the new FAA proposed rules, drone operators need permission to fly over private property,” says Albuquerque-based Nerds Limited LLC. And so their iOS app Legal Flyer “aims to bridge the communication gap between drone pilots and worried citizens.”

The app provides drone operators a permission slip to fly, and a property release to allow videographers and photographers necessary permission to fly and film, the company says — and “protect homeowners from rogue drones.”

The Nerds say their app “is a tool for drone operators to get necessary permissions, as well as, inform and educate the public on their privacy rights. We hope through informed consent more citizens feel comfortable with drones, while more videographers are able to fly homes.”

The $10 app not only complies with FAA rules, but also more relevant FCC rules and privacy laws, the company adds. “Many citizens have concerns of privacy and most individuals are unaware they own the airspace above their home” up to 83 feet.

There’s more information here.

legal flyer


3D images overlay drone video

Drone Camera Overlays Video

Drone Camera Overlays Video

Drone videography, 3D objects, augmented reality… all pretty new concepts — but get ready to see them combined: A French startup is overlaying 3D imagery atop the live video feed from a drone for an augmented view of a flight.

Sysveo says it’s idea could let architects “see” if a new building fits into the surroundings, Discovery reports, adding that it provides an intuitive way to marry conceptual designs with the actual environment, broadcasting the results in real-time.”

The technology is funded by the European Space Agency.

Here is the full article.