A product line of high-definition color video cameras, now under development, offers a superior combination of desirable characteristics, including high frame rates, high resolutions, low power consumption, and compactness. Several of the cameras feature a 3,840 × 2,160-pixel format with progressive scanning at 30 frames per second. The power consumption of one of these cameras is about 25 W. The size of the camera, excluding the lens assembly, is 2 by 5 by 7 in. (about 5.1 by 12.7 by 17.8 cm).
The aforementioned desirable characteristics are attained at relatively low cost, largely by utilizing digital processing in advanced field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) to perform all of the many functions (for example, colorbalance and contrast adjustments) of a professional color video camera. The processing is programmed in VHDL so that application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs) can be fabricated directly from the program. ["VHDL" signifies VHSIC Hardware Description Language C, a computing language used by the United States Department of Defense for describing, designing, and simulating very-high-speed integrated circuits (VHSICs).]
The image-sensor and FPGA clock frequencies in these cameras have generally been much higher than those used in video cameras designed and manufactured elsewhere. Frequently, the outputs of these cameras are converted to other video-camera formats by use of pre- and post-filters.
This work was done by William Glenn of Florida Atlantic University for Marshall Space Flight Center. For further information, contact Jerry Engelbrecht at 561-297-2335. MFS-32091-1