DHS Developing Wide-Eye Ceiling-Mount Camera

The new tool, the Imaging System for Immersive Surveillance (ISIS) avoids the distortion of traditional fish-eye wide-angle lenses by using multiple cameras, and stitching it all together.
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You know those dome cameras in every supermarket and WalMart, with the darkened glass that keeps you from seeing where the surveillance camera is pointing?

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The ISIS 100 megapixel camera

A new camera system under development by the Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) is making that answer simpler, mounting to a ceiling with multiple lenses capturing views in all directions--except, of course, straight up.

The new tool, the Imaging System for Immersive Surveillance (ISIS) avoids the distortion of traditional fish-eye wide-angle lenses by using multiple cameras, and stitching it all together.

“Coverage this sweeping, with detail this fine, requires a very high pixel count,” said program manager John Fortune of S&T’s Infrastructure and Geophysical Division.

Since December 2009, a pilot program with the camera has been ongoing with the Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport) at Logan International Airport.

ISIS has a total resolution capability of 100 MP, or about 50 HDTV images at once. That enables close zooming without losing clarity.

Other features include alerts, and auto-tracking of people or objects.

After an incident, multiple investigators could check out portions of the combined image separately.

Many of the ISIS capabilities were adapted from technology previously developed by MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory for military applications. With the help of technology experts from the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Lincoln Laboratory has built the current system with commercial off-the-shelf cameras, computers, image processing boards and software.

DHS may next work on an infrared version for low-light environments,

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