1ms pan-tilt camera system tracks the flying balls (w/ Video)

Pan-tilt camera system tracks the flying balls   (w/ Video)
Photograph of the Saccade Mirror. Image: University of Tokyo
(Phys.org) -- University of Japan researchers have worked on a camera system that tracks fast-moving objects in realtime, automatically keeping fast moving objects centered. The system can track fast-moving objects with high accuracy, called “amazing.” A video demo has been made that reveals their success. This is a pan-tilt system that keeps an object at the center of the field. The researchers started work based on a challenge they recognized in the broadcast of major sports events such as the World Cup and games at the Olympics, where videos that are powerful and of the highest quality are in demand.

In reality, though, they call attention to a number of limitations in techniques being used to capture the games. “It is often hard for operators to keep tracking their camera's direction on a dynamic object,” they wrote, such as the player or the ball. Shooting has been limited either to moving the camera’ gaze slowly with a wide angle of view or inaccurately controlling the gaze. “Super slow and close-up videos of the remarkable player or the ball are thought to be especially quite valuable. However, camera operators have not been able to do that.”

Carrying out their work at Ishikawa Oku Laboratory, the team worked out a that can track fast-moving objects with something described as a high-speed gaze control device Two mirrors, one pan, one tilt, can move sixty degrees in approximately 3.5 milliseconds. These mirrors do the tracking realtime, bouncing images back to a stationary high-speed camera. The 1ms Auto Pan-Tilt system, as the system is named, gets its 1ms designation because it uses a 1,000 frame-per-second vision targeting system. Mirrors react to changes in the subject’s speed or trajectory in no more than 3.5 milliseconds, which is the amount of time required for either of them to move a full 60 degrees, their panning and tilting limit.

Their work does not signify a first in pant-tilt camera systems development. The researchers do, however, spell out where their work has an edge. “To control the camera's gaze with millisecond order in real time is difficult. The main reason is the method of controlling the gaze. A general pan/tilt camera is mounted on a rotational base with two-axis actuators. The actuators must control both the base and the camera. For millisecond-order control, the weight of the rotating parts must be reduced as much as possible”. In their method, the camera is fixed and their gaze-control device using rotational mirrors is installed next to the camera, controlling the camera's gaze with use of the two mirrors.

Pan-tilt camera system tracks the flying balls   (w/ Video)
Auto Pan-Tilt image sequence of a pingpong game. (500fps, Full-HD). Image: University of Tokyo

An easily predictable application would, as the researchers suggest, be for use in televised sports, where the camera used in the system shoots in full HD at 500 frames per second. Another application could be for science research in shooting fast- such as birds, insects, or aircraft.

Team members behind the development are Kohei Okumura, Hiromasa Oku and Masatoshi Ishikawa.


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Jul 15, 2012
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Jul 15, 2012
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Jul 15, 2012
That is amazing!

Jul 16, 2012
. eventually robots will be keeping score of tennis matches rather than referees.
what would macnroe yell at a robot?

Jul 16, 2012
Of course, the military will want to research the use of this to track high speed targets.

Jul 16, 2012
Of course, the military will want to research the use of this to track high speed targets.

They have that using radar (no need for optical range tracking). But they'll probably want to install it on their 'security bots' so they'll always shoot you in the eye with a laser (or a bullet) - no matter how you duck.

Jul 16, 2012
Smiling - so often the simple furnishes the elegant. Nice solution to minimising the moving mass.

Jul 16, 2012
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Jul 16, 2012
AWESOME!

Yes I can see this useful in all the places people above me picked out: hockey pucks(impossible to see on the ice), bullets(simply impossible to see with eyes), baseballs(to see pitches and hits/HRs), tennis(was that ball out or not), missiles(is it rotating correctly, where is it going, etc), people(are they doing something against the flow of traffic? Do they have a package? etc.) cars(if the police are trying to follow a speeding car)

And there are probably more that I am not thinking of right now too!

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