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December  1, 1999
Multispectral Camera System Prototypes
Olympus R&D has its sights set on a system that will reproduce the look of life itself with uncannily accurate colors and fine gradations
Olympus Optical Co., Ltd. is pleased to announce a prototype of its multispectral camera system. Drawing on the company's advanced optical and digital processing technologies, the innovation captures images in 16 primary colors and displays them in 6 primary colors. With more primary colors for both image capture and output, it is suited to wide-ranging applications in the emerging information society.
With the progress in large-capacity, high-speed data transmission, there have been increasing calls for imaging with higher resolution and improved quality. This need is especially keen in medical applications where accurate color reproduction is essential to remote diagnosis and home care. And in e-commerce - a field that will see surging growth - superior color reproduction and superfine resolution are indispensable to ensuring that the colors on the display monitor match the ones of the product for sale.
Generally limited to the three primary colors of red, green and blue, a conventional system cannot reproduce all the color characteristics of the original subject. Olympus' new multispectral camera system takes the technologies to another level by capturing and processing images in 16 primary colors, then displaying them in 6 primary colors. To achieve this degree of accuracy, the image analysis system uses sophisticated statistical models.
The results make an image look as vivid as life itself, as if the subject were right in front of a person. Color capture in additional primary colors equals the optical capabilities of the human eye. There is automatic correction for the slight color variations that occur when an image is viewed in different illumination. And with display in more primary colors, the spectrum is broadened dramatically to create saturation that is impossible to reproduce on an RGB monitor. This accuracy has been pushed so far that the system can even capture chromatic subtleties that are indiscernible to the human eye.
The multispectral camera system is another stride in Olympus' race to bring its advanced imaging technologies to the accelerating needs of the information society. Along with pursing higher resolution and quality, the company's R&D has targeted technologies for true-to-life color reproduction. The innovations will prove particularly important in printing and publishing as well as medicine and industry.
Key Features
Image Capture in 16 Primary Colors
The multispectral camera records color information by dividing the color spectrum into 16 wavelengths. The key is 16 band path filters with differing transmission characteristics for visible light. Since they are interchangeable, the appropriate filters are selected according to the subject. The camera captures images with 1,000 x 1,000 pixels.
Faithful Color Reproduction
The system integrates every function to optimize color reproduction from image capture to output. This fine-tuned control includes the camera's characteristics, illumination information where an image is taken and where it is viewed, and the color characteristics of the display monitor. Processing is based on X, Y and Z values - the same way that human color perception works - to create an image as vivid as life.
Automatic Correction for Illumination Variations
Since it is limited to particular lighting conditions, a conventional color management system is incapable of reproducing an accurate image in every environment. To achieve this level of precision, the Olympus system's imaging format compensates for variations in illumination when the image is displayed. Using comprehensive data, it shows how the image will look in different illumination and adjusts it automatically after processing.
Expanded Gamut of Colors
The system has two rear projectors to display images, with each of them dedicated to a different set of three primary colors. Working together, they reproduce images with a total of six primary colors. The configuration displays a wider gamut of colors far beyond the capabilities of a conventional RGB display monitor.
Sophisticated Statistical Analysis
Even the subtlest color gradations - including nuances invisible to the human eye - are distinguished automatically. Using sophisticated statistical models, the system analyzes the smallest details and detects every gradation in spectral characteristics.
*Olympus Optical Co., Ltd. was changed to OLYMPUS CORPORATION as of October 1, 2003.
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