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Rugged, obstruction-free, mirror–lens combination for panoramic imaging

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Abstract

We present a new combination of lenses and reflective surfaces for obstruction-free wide-angle imaging. The panoramic imaging system consists of a reflective surface machined into solid Perspex, which together with an embedded lens, can be attached to a video camera lens. Unlike vision sensors with a single mirror mounted in front of a camera, the view in the forward direction (i.e., the direction of the optical axis) is not obstructed. Light rays contributing to the central region of the image are refracted at a centrally positioned lens and at the Perspex enclosure. For the outer image region, rays are reflected at a mirror surface of constant angular gain machined into the Perspex and coated with silver. The design produces a field of view of approximately 260° with only a small separation of viewpoints. The shape of the enclosing Perspex is specifically designed in order to minimize internal reflections.

© 2008 Optical Society of America

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