VTT has recently developed a new solution for thermal infrared applications, bringing about the possibility to fold a 360-degree panoramic view on a single sensor matrix. The concept of ensuring optimal image quality is specifically ideal for surveillance, military, security and building diagnostic applications, where the objects to be imaged exist in the horizontal directions from the camera.
In thermal imaging, infrared radiation released by objects being imaged is detected and then used for presenting the temperature differences of the target scene in the form of an image. The application fields for this technology and its use have been steadily growing; including building diagnostics, military systems, mechanical or electrical inspection, medicine, surveillance, firefighting, bioeconomy and many others, where there is a recurring necessity to cover a wide horizontal field of view in the imaging.
So far, the commercial solutions for offering wide panoramic thermal imaging available have been based on either having a number of thermal cameras looking at varied directions, or a single rotating camera. The initial choice is available with a costly price tag, and the latter fails to offer a completely concurrent panoramic view, due to the delay brought about by the turning of the camera.
The main component of VTT's new optics design is in fact a monolithic lens element capable of folding a panoramic field of view on a single thermal sensor matrix. Thus, there is no need to use a number of expensive thermal cameras. Furthermore, it is possible to capture the broad 360-degree panoramic view on a single shot. The optics solution produced is mainly well suited for situations where a nonstop panoramic thermal image close to the horizontal plane is required.
This concept enables the development of affordable and powerful products for the applications of broad horizontal thermal imaging. The optics design can be modified according to the desired vertical field of view or, for example, image sensor properties. This ensures the optimal image quality for the specific application.
Kimmo Solehmainen, Key Account Manager at VTT
For the very first time, VTT's solution will be shown at the SPIE Photonics West exhibition in San Francisco from 30 January to 1 February 2018.