CMOS Camera Array With Onboard Memory

A compact CMOS (complementary metal oxide semiconductor) camera system has been developed with high resolution (1.3 Megapixels), a USB (universal serial bus) 2.0 interface, and an onboard memory. A compact design of a 2×4 in. (≈5×10 cm) multilayer PCB (printed circuit board) was designed that contains the CMOS socket, a PLD (programmable logic device) for the digital logic required to drive the CMOS array, the USB 2.0 interface, and a RAM (random access memory) chip for storing up to nine images in a compact format. The system can be configured as a slave, which allows the camera to receive a trigger from another similar camera to synchronize exposure, or in master mode, in which the camera receives a trigger command from a computer and sends a trigger to other cameras for synchronization. Exposure times, and other operating parameters, are sent from a control PC via the USB port. Data from the camera can be received via the USB port and the interface allows for simple control and data capture through a laptop computer. The software designed for this system manages synchronized image capture as used in Pentacam with CMOS sensors, and no frame-grabbers so the power consumption is minimal.

Since the cameras can be triggered and synchronized, they can be used to capture images of high-speed events from several directions. Remote sensing applications also can take advantage of these systems.

This work was done by Nahum Gat of Opto-Knowledge Systems, Inc. for Goddard Space Flight Center. For further information, contact the Goddard Innovative Partnerships Office at (301) 286-5810. GSC-14902-1

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