METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR OBTAINING PANORAMIC AND RECTILINEAR IMAGES USING ROTATIONALLY SYMMETRIC WIDEANGLE LENS

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First Claim
1. An imaging system comprising:
 an image acquisition means for acquiring an uncorrected image plane using a wideangle lens rotationally symmetric about an optical axis,an image processing means for extracting a panoramic image plane from the uncorrected image plane; and
an image display means for displaying the panoramic image plane on a rectangular screen,wherein,if a coordinate of an image point on the rectangular screen corresponding to an object point having a coordinate (X, Y, Z) in a world coordinate system, which has a nodal point of the wideangle lens as an origin and a vertical line passing through the origin as an Yaxis and an intersection line between a reference plane, which is a plane containing both the Yaxis and the optical axis of the wideangle lens, and a horizontal plane perpendicular to the Yaxis as a Zaxis, is given as (x″
, y″
),the lateral coordinate x″
of the image point is given as x″
=cψ
,and the longitudinal coordinate y″
of the image point is given as y″
=cF(δ
),wherein,c is a proportionality constant,ψ
is a horizontal incidence angle an incident ray originating from the object point makes with an YZ plane and is given as
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Abstract
The present invention provides mathematically accurate image processing algorithms for extracting natural looking panoramic images and distortionfree rectilinear images from images acquired using a camera equipped with a wideangle lens which is rotationally symmetric about an optical axis and devices implementing such algorithms. Imaging systems using this method can be used not only in security•surveillance applications for indoor and outdoor environments, but also in diverse areas such as video phone for apartment entrance door, rear view camera for vehicles, visual sensor for unmanned aerial vehicles and robots, camera phone, PC camera, and broadcasting camera. Also, it can be used to obtain panoramic or rectilinear photographs using a digital camera.
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36 Claims
 1. An imaging system comprising:
an image acquisition means for acquiring an uncorrected image plane using a wideangle lens rotationally symmetric about an optical axis, an image processing means for extracting a panoramic image plane from the uncorrected image plane; and an image display means for displaying the panoramic image plane on a rectangular screen, wherein, if a coordinate of an image point on the rectangular screen corresponding to an object point having a coordinate (X, Y, Z) in a world coordinate system, which has a nodal point of the wideangle lens as an origin and a vertical line passing through the origin as an Yaxis and an intersection line between a reference plane, which is a plane containing both the Yaxis and the optical axis of the wideangle lens, and a horizontal plane perpendicular to the Yaxis as a Zaxis, is given as (x″
, y″
),the lateral coordinate x″
of the image point is given as x″
=cψ
,and the longitudinal coordinate y″
of the image point is given as y″
=cF(δ
),wherein, c is a proportionality constant, ψ
is a horizontal incidence angle an incident ray originating from the object point makes with an YZ plane and is given as View Dependent Claims (2)
 3. An imaging system comprising:
an image acquisition means for acquiring an uncorrected image plane using a fisheye lens rotationally symmetric about an optical axis, an image processing means for extracting a panoramic image plane from the uncorrected image plane; and an image display means for displaying the panoramic image plane on a rectangular screen, wherein, if a coordinate of an image point on the rectangular screen corresponding to an object point having a coordinate (X, Y, Z) in a world coordinate system, which has a nodal point of the fisheye lens as an origin and a vertical line passing through the origin as an Yaxis and an intersection line between a reference plane, which is a plane containing both the Yaxis and the optical axis of the fisheye lens, and a horizontal plane perpendicular to the Yaxis as a Zaxis, is given as (x″
, y″
),the lateral coordinate x″
of the image point is proportional to a horizontal incidence angle ψ
,herein, the horizontal incidence angle ψ
is an angle an incident ray originating from the object point makes with an YZ plane and is given as View Dependent Claims (4, 5, 6)
 7. An imaging system comprising:
an image acquisition means for acquiring an uncorrected image plane using a fisheye lens rotationally symmetric about an optical axis, an image processing means for extracting a panoramic image plane from the uncorrected image plane; and an image display means for displaying the panoramic image plane on a rectangular screen, wherein, if the optical axis of the fisheye lens is aligned parallel to a horizontal plane, and a coordinate of an image point on the rectangular screen corresponding to an object point having a coordinate (X, Y, Z) in a world coordinate system, which has a nodal point of the fisheye lens as an origin and a vertical line passing through the origin as an Yaxis and the optical axis of the fisheye lens as a Zaxis, is given as (x″
, y″
),the lateral coordinate x″
of the image point is proportional to a horizontal incidence angle ψ
,herein, the horizontal incidence angle w is an angle an incident ray originating from the object point makes with an YZ plane and is given as  View Dependent Claims (8)
 9. An imaging system comprising:
an image acquisition means for acquiring an uncorrected image plane using a fisheye lens rotationally symmetric about an optical axis, an image processing means for extracting a panoramic image plane from the uncorrected image plane; and an image display means for displaying the panoramic image plane on a rectangular screen, wherein, if the optical axis of the fisheye lens is aligned parallel to a horizontal plane, and a coordinate of an image point on the rectangular screen corresponding to an object point having a coordinate (X, Y, Z) in a world coordinate system, which has a nodal point of the fisheye lens as an origin and a vertical line passing through the origin as an Yaxis and the optical axis of the fisheye lens as a Zaxis, is given as (x″
, y″
),the lateral coordinate x″
of the image point is proportional to a horizontal incidence angle ψ
,herein, the horizontal incidence angle w is an angle an incident ray originating from the object point makes with an YZ plane and is given as
 10. An imaging system comprising:
an image acquisition means for acquiring an uncorrected image plane using a wideangle lens rotationally symmetric about an optical axis, an image processing means for extracting a rectilinear image plane from the uncorrected image plane; and an image display means for displaying the rectilinear image plane on a rectangular screen, wherein, if a coordinate of an image point on the rectangular screen corresponding to an object point having a coordinate (X, Y, Z) in a world coordinate system, which has a nodal point of the wideangle lens as an origin and a vertical line passing through the origin as an Yaxis, is given as (x″
, y″
),arbitrary straight lines in the world coordinate system appear as straight lines on the screen.  View Dependent Claims (11, 12, 13)
 14. An imaging system comprising:
an image acquisition means for acquiring an uncorrected image plane using a fisheye lens rotationally symmetric about an optical axis, an image processing means for extracting a rectilinear image plane from the uncorrected image plane; and an image display means for displaying the rectilinear image plane on a rectangular screen, wherein, if a coordinate of an image point on the rectangular screen corresponding to an object point having a coordinate (X, Y, Z) in a world coordinate system, which has a nodal point of the fisheye lens as an origin and a vertical line passing through the origin as an Yaxis, is given as (x″
, y″
),arbitrary straight lines in the world coordinate system appear as straight lines on the screen, a principal direction of vision for the rectilinear image plane is different from the optical axis direction of the fisheye lens, and the principal direction of vision for the rectilinear image plane does not pass through the center of the rectilinear image plane.
 15. An imaging system comprising:
an image acquisition means for acquiring an uncorrected image plane using a wideangle lens rotationally symmetric about an optical axis, an image processing means for extracting a rectilinear image plane from the uncorrected image plane; and an image display means for displaying the rectilinear image plane on a rectangular screen, wherein, if a coordinate of an image point on the rectangular screen corresponding to an object point having a coordinate (X, Y, Z) in a world coordinate system, which has a nodal point of the wideangle lens as an origin and a vertical line passing through the origin as an Yaxis, is given as (x″
, y″
),the rectilinear image plane is obtained from the uncorrected image plane using digital slide operation and at least one digital pan or tilt operation, and arbitrary straight lines in the world coordinate system appear as straight lines on the screen.
 16. An imaging system comprising:
an image acquisition means for acquiring an uncorrected image plane using a wideangle lens rotationally symmetric about an optical axis, an image processing means for extracting a multiple viewpoint panoramic image plane from the uncorrected image plane; and an image display means for displaying the multiple viewpoint panoramic image plane on a rectangular screen, wherein, the multiple viewpoint panoramic image plane includes the 1^{st }through the n^{th }sub rectilinear image planes laid out horizontally on the screen where n is a natural number larger than 2, an arbitrary straight line in a world coordinate system, which has a nodal point of the wideangle lens as an origin, appears as a straight line on any of the 1^{st }through the n^{th }sub rectilinear image planes, and any straight line in the world coordinate system appearing on more than two adjacent sub rectilinear image planes appears as connected line segments.  View Dependent Claims (17)
 18. An imaging system comprising:
an image acquisition means for acquiring an uncorrected image plane using a wideangle lens rotationally symmetric about an optical axis, an image processing means for extracting a processed image plane from the uncorrected image plane; and an image display means for displaying the processed image plane on a rectangular screen, wherein, the processed image plane includes the 1^{st }through the n^{th }sub rectilinear image planes where n is a natural number larger than 2, an arbitrary straight line in a world coordinate system having a nodal point of the wideangle lens as an origin appears as a straight line on any of the 1^{st }through the n^{th }sub rectilinear image planes.  View Dependent Claims (19, 20, 21)
 22. An imaging system comprising:
an image acquisition means for acquiring an uncorrected image plane using a wideangle lens rotationally symmetric about an optical axis, an image processing means for extracting a processed image plane from the uncorrected image plane, an image selection means for determining projection schemes and parameters of the processed image plane; and an image display means for displaying the processed image plane on a rectangular screen, wherein, the projection schemes of the processed image plane include a panoramic projection scheme and a rectilinear projection scheme, if a coordinate of an image point on the rectangular screen corresponding to an object point having a coordinate (X, Y, Z) in a world coordinate system, which has a nodal point of the wideangle lens as an origin and a vertical line passing through the origin as an Yaxis, is given as (x″
, y″
),the panoramic projection scheme is a scheme wherein the lateral coordinate x″
of the image point is proportional to a horizontal incidence angle ψ
,herein, the horizontal incidence angle ψ
is an angle an incident ray originating from the object point makes with an YZ plane and is given as View Dependent Claims (23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36)
1 Specification
The present invention generally relates to mathematically precise image processing methods of extracting distortionfree rectilinear images and panoramic images, which appear most natural to the naked eye, from images acquired using a camera equipped with a wideangle lens that is rotationally symmetric about an optical axis, as well as devices using the methods.
Panoramic camera, which captures the 360° view of scenic places such as tourist resorts, is an example of a panoramic imaging system. Panoramic imaging system is an imaging system that captures the views one could get by making one complete turnaround from a given spot. On the other hand, omnidirectional imaging system captures the view of every possible direction from a given position. Omnidirectional imaging system provides a view that a person could observe from a given position by turning around as well as looking up and down. In a mathematical terminology, the solid angle of the region that can be captured by the imaging system is 4π steradian.
There have been a lot of studies and developments of panoramic imaging systems not only in the traditional areas such as photographing buildings, nature scenes, and heavenly bodies, but also in security/surveillance systems using CCD (chargecoupled device) or CMOS (complementary metaloxidesemiconductor) cameras, virtual touring of real estates, hotels and tourist resort, and navigational aids for mobile robots and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV).
One method of obtaining a panoramic image is to employ a fisheye lens with a wide field of view (FOV). For example, the entire sky and the horizon can be captured in a single image by pointing a camera equipped with a fisheye lens with 180° FOV toward the zenith (i.e., the optical axis of the camera is aligned perpendicular to the ground plane). On this reason, fisheye lenses have been often referred to as “allsky lenses”. Particularly, a highend fisheye lens by Nikon, namely, 6 mm f/5.6 FisheyeNikkor, has a FOV of 220°. Therefore, a camera equipped with this lens can capture a portion of the backside of the camera as well as the front side of the camera. Then, panoramic image can be obtained from thus obtained fisheye image after proper image processing.
In many cases, imaging system is installed on vertical walls. Imaging systems installed on outside walls of a building for the purpose of monitoring the surroundings, or a rear view camera for monitoring the backside of a passenger car are such examples. In such cases, it is inefficient if the horizontal field of view is significantly larger than 180°. This is because a wall, which is not needed to be monitored, takes up a large space in the monitor screen. Pixels are wasted in this case, and screen appears dull. Therefore, a horizontal FOV around 180° is more appropriate for such cases. Nevertheless, a fisheye lens with 180° FOV is not desirable for such application. This is because the barrel distortion, which accompanies a fisheye lens, evokes psychological discomfort and abhorred by the consumer.
An example of an imaging system, which can be installed on an interior wall for the purpose of monitoring the entire room, is given by a pan•tilt•zoom camera. Such a camera is comprised of a video camera, which is equipped with an optical zoom lens, mounted on a pan•tilt stage. Pan is an operation of rotating in the horizontal direction for a given angle, and tilt is an operation of rotating in the vertical direction for a given angle. In other words, if we assume that the camera is at the center of a celestial sphere, then pan is an operation of changing the longitude, and tilt is an operation of changing the latitude. Therefore, the theoretical range of pan operation is 360°, and the theoretical range of tilt operation is 180°. The shortcomings of a pan•tilt•zoom camera include high price, large size and heavy weight. Optical zoom lens is large, heavy and expensive due to the difficulty in design and the complicated structure. Also, a pan•tilt stage is an expensive device no cheaper than a camera. Therefore, it cost a considerable sum of money to install a pan•tilt•zoom camera. Furthermore, since a pan•tilt•zoom camera is large and heavy, this point can become a serious impediment to certain applications. Examples of such cases include airplanes where the weight of the payload is of critical importance, or a strict size limitation exists in order to install a camera in a confined space. Furthermore, pan•tilt•zoom operation takes a time because it is a mechanical operation. Therefore, depending on the particular application at hand, such a mechanical operation may not be fast enough.
References 1 and 2 provide fundamental technologies of extracting an image having a particular viewpoint or projection scheme from an image having other than the desirable viewpoint or projection scheme. Specifically, reference 2 provides an example of a cubic panorama. In short, a cubic panorama is a special technique of illustration wherein the observer is assumed to be located at the very center of an imaginary cubic room made of glass, and the outside view from the center of the glass room is directly transcribed on the region of the glass wall where the ray vector from the object to the observer meets the glass wall. An example of a more advanced technology is provided in the above reference with which reflections from an arbitrarily shaped mirrored surface can be calculated. Specifically, the author of reference 2 created an imaginary lizard having a highly reflective mirrorlike skin as if made of a metal surface, then setup an observer'"'"'s viewpoint separated from the lizard, and calculated the view of the imaginary environment reflected on the lizard skin from the viewpoint of the imaginary observer. However, the environment was not a real environment captured by an optical lens, but a computercreated imaginary environment captured with an imaginary distortionfree pinhole camera.
On the other hand, an imaging system is described in reference 3 that is able to perform pan•tilt•zoom operations without a physically moving part. The said invention uses a camera equipped with a fisheye lens with more than 180° FOV in order to take a picture of the environment. Then, user designates a principal direction of vision using various devices such as a joystick, upon which, the computer extracts a rectilinear image from the fisheye image that could be obtained by heading a distortionfree camera to that particular direction. The main difference between this invention and the prior arts is that this invention creates a rectilinear image corresponding to the particular direction the user has designated using devices such as a joystick or a computer mouse. Such a technology is a core technology in the field of virtual reality, or when it is desirable to replace mechanical pan•tilt•zoom camera, and the keyword is “interactive picture”. In this technology, there are no physically moving parts in the camera. As a consequence, the system response is fast, and there is less chance of mechanical failure.
Ordinarily, when an imaging system such as a security camera is installed, a cautionary measure is taken so that a vertical line perpendicular to the horizontal plane also appears vertical in the acquired image. In such a case, vertical lines still appear vertical even as mechanical pan•tilt•zoom operation is performed. On the other hand, in the said invention, vertical lines generally do not appear as vertical lines after a software pan•tilt•zoom operation has been performed. To remedy such an unnatural result, a rotate operation is additionally performed, which is not found in a mechanical pan•tilt•zoom camera. Furthermore, the said invention does not provide the exact amount of rotate angle, which is needed in order to display vertical lines as vertical lines. Therefore, the rotation angle must be found in a trialanderror method in order to display vertical lines as vertical lines.
Furthermore, the said invention assumes that the projection scheme of the fisheye lens is an ideal equidistance projection scheme. But, the real projection scheme of a fisheye lens generally shows a considerable deviation from an ideal equidistance projection scheme. Since the said invention does not take into account the distortion characteristics of the real lens, images obtained after image processing still shows distortion.
The invention described in reference 4 remedies the shortcoming of the invention described in reference 3, namely the inability of taking into account the real projection scheme of the fisheye lens used in image processing. Nevertheless, the defect of not showing vertical lines as vertical lines in the monitor screen has not been resolved.
From another point of view, all animals and plants including human are bound on the surface of the earth due to the gravitational pull, and most of the events, which need attention or cautionary measure, take place near the horizon. Therefore, even though it is necessary to monitor every 360° direction on the horizon, it is not as important to monitor high along the vertical direction, for example, as high as to the zenith or deep down to the nadir. Distortion is unavoidable if we want to describe the scene of every 360° direction on a twodimensional plane. Similar difficulty exists in the cartography where geography on earth, which is a structure on the surface of a sphere, needs to be mapped on a planar twodimensional atlas. Among all the distortions, the distortion that appears most unnatural to the people is the distortion where vertical lines appear as curved lines. Therefore, even if other kinds of distortions are present, it is important to make sure that such a distortion is absent.
Described in reference 5 are the wellknown map projection schemes among the diverse map projection schemes such as equirectangular projection, Mercator projection and cylindrical projection schemes, and reference 6 provides a brief history of diverse map projection schemes. Among these, the equirectangular projection scheme is the projection scheme most familiar to us when we describe the geography on the earth, or when we draw the celestial sphere in order to make a map of the constellation.
Referring to
Math Figure 1
x″=cψ [Math.1]
Here, c is proportionality constant. Also, the longitudinal coordinate y″ is proportional to the latitude, and has the same proportionality constant as the lateral coordinate.
Math Figure 2
y″=cδ [Math.2]
The span of the longitude is 360° ranging from −180° to +180°, and the span of the latitude is 180° ranging from −90° to +90°. Therefore, a map drawn according to the equirectangular projection scheme must have a width W:height ratio of 360:180=2:1.
Furthermore, if the proportionality constant c is given as the radius S of the earth, then the width of the said planar map is given as the perimeter of the earth measured along the equator as given in Eq. 3.
Math Figure 3
W=2πS [Math.3]
Such an equirectangular projection scheme appears as a natural projection scheme considering the fact that the earth'"'"'s surface is close to the surface of a sphere. Nevertheless, it is disadvantageous in that the size of a geographical area is greatly distorted. For example, two very close points near the North Pole can appear as if they are on the opposite sides of the earth in a map drawn according to the equirectangular projection scheme.
n the other hand, in a map drawn according to the Mercator projection scheme, the longitudinal coordinate is given as a complex function given in Eq. 4.
Math Figure 4
On the other hand,
In this projection scheme, a hypothetical cylindrical plane(334) is assumed which contacts the celestial sphere(331) at the equator(303). Then, for a point Q(ψ, δ) on the celestial sphere having a given longitude ψ and a latitude δ, a line segment connecting the center of the celestial sphere and the point Q is extended until it meets the said cylindrical plane. This intersection point is designated as P(ψ, δ). In this manner, the corresponding point P on the cylindrical plane(334) can be obtained for every point Q on the celestial sphere(331) within the said latitude range. Then, a map having a cylindrical projection scheme is obtained when the cylindrical plane is cut and flattened out. Therefore, the lateral coordinate x″ of the point P on the flattenedout cylindrical plane is given by Eq. 5, and the longitudinal coordinate y″ is given by Eq. 6.
Math Figure 5
x″=Sψ [Math.5]
Math Figure 6
y″=S tan δ [Math.6]
Such a cylindrical projection scheme is the natural projection scheme for a panoramic camera that produces a panoramic image by rotating in the horizontal plane. Especially, if the lens mounted on the rotating panoramic camera is a distortionfree rectilinear lens, then the resulting panoramic image exactly follows a cylindrical projection scheme. In principle, such a cylindrical projection scheme is the most accurate panoramic projection scheme. However, the panoramic image appears unnatural when the latitude range is large, and thus it is not widely used in practice. Unwrapped panoramic image thus produced and having a cylindrical projection scheme has a lateral width W given by Eq. 3. On the other hand, if the range of the latitude is from δ_{1 }to δ_{2}, then the longitudinal height of the unwrapped panoramic image is given by Eq. 7.
Math Figure 7
H=S(tan δ_{2}−tan δ_{1}) [Math.7]
Therefore, the following equation can be derived from Eq. 3 and Eq. 7.
Math Figure 8
Therefore, an unwrapped panoramic image following a cylindrical projection scheme must satisfy Eq. 8.
All the animals, plants and inanimate objects such as buildings on the earth are under the influence of gravity, and the direction of gravitational force is the upright direction or the vertical direction. Ground plane is fairly perpendicular to the gravitational force, but needless to say, it is not so on a slanted ground. Therefore, the word “ground plane” actually refers to the horizontal plane, and the vertical direction is the direction perpendicular to the horizontal plane. Therefore, even if we refer them as the ground plane, the lateral direction, and the longitudinal direction, for the sake of simplicity, the ground plane must be understood as the horizontal plane, the vertical direction must be understood as the direction perpendicular to the horizontal plane, and the horizontal direction must be understood as a direction parallel to the horizontal plane, whenever an exact meaning of a term needs to be clarified.
Panoramic lenses described in references 7 and 8 take panoramic images in one shot with the optical axis of the panoramic lens aligned vertical to the ground plane. A cheaper alternative to the panoramic image acquisition method by the previously described camera with a horizontallyrotating lens consist of taking an image with an ordinary camera with the optical axis horizontally aligned, and repeating to take pictures after horizontally rotating the optical axis by a certain amount. Four to eight pictures are taken in this way, and a panoramic image with a cylindrical projection scheme can be obtained by seamlessly joining the pictures consecutively. Such a technique is called stitching. QuickTime VR from Apple computer inc. is commercial software supporting this stitching technology. This method requires a complex, timeconsuming, and elaborate operation of precisely joining several pictures and correcting the lens distortion.
According to the reference 9, another method of obtaining a panoramic or an omnidirectional image is to take a hemispherical image by horizontally pointing a camera equipped with a fisheye lens with more than 180° FOV, and then point the camera to the exact opposite direction and take another hemispherical image. By stitching the two images acquired from the camera using appropriate software, one omnidirectional image having the view of every direction (i.e., 4π steradian) can be obtained. By sending thus obtained image to a geographically separated remote user using communication means such as the Internet, the user can select his own viewpoint from the received omnidirectional image according to his own personal interest, and image processing software on the user'"'"'s computing device can extract a partial image corresponding to the userselected viewpoint, and a perspectively correct planar image can be displayed on the computing device. Therefore, through the image processing software, the user can make a choice of turning around (pan), lookingup or down (tilt), or take a close (zoom in) or remote (zoom out) view as if the user is actually at the specific place in the image. This method has a distinctive advantage of multiple users accessing the same Internet site to be able to take looks along the directions of their own choices. This advantage cannot be enjoyed in a panoramic imaging system employing a motion camera such as a pan•tilt camera.
References 10 and 11 describe a method of obtaining an omnidirectional image providing the views of every direction centered on the observer. Despite the lengthy description of the invention, however, the projection scheme provided by the said references is one kind of equidistance projection schemes in essence. In other words, the techniques described in the documents make it possible to obtain omnidirectional images from a real environment or from a cubic panorama, but the obtained omnidirectional image follows an equidistance projection scheme only and its usefulness is thus limited.
On the other hand, reference 12 provides an algorithm for projecting an Omnimax movie on a semicylindrical screen using a fisheye lens. Especially, taking into account of the fact that the projection scheme of the fisheye lens mounted on a movie projector deviates from an ideal equidistance projection scheme, a method is described for locating the position of the object point on the film corresponding to a certain point on the screen whereon an image point is formed. Therefore, it is possible to calculate what image has to be on the film in order to project a particular image on the screen, and such an image on the film is produced using a computer. Especially, since the lens distortion is already reflected in the image processing algorithm, a spectator near the movie projector can entertain himself with a satisfactory panoramic image. Nevertheless, the real projection scheme of the fisheye lens in the said reference is inconvenient to use because it has been modeled with the real image height on the film plane as the independent variable, and the zenith angle of the incident ray as the dependent variable. Furthermore, unnecessarily, the real projection scheme of the fisheye lens has been modeled only with an odd polynomial.
Reference 13 provides examples of stereo panoramic images produced by Professor Paul Bourke. Each of the panoramic images follows a cylindrical projection scheme, and a panoramic image of an imaginary scene produced by a computer as well as a panoramic image produced by a rotating slit camera are presented. For panoramic images produced by a computer or produced by a traditional method of rotating slit camera, the lens distortion is not an important issue. However, rotating slit camera cannot be used to take a realtime panoramic image (i.e., movie) of a real world.
References 14 and 15 provide an example of a fisheye lens with 190° FOV, and reference 16 provides various examples of wideangle lenses including dioptric and catadioptric fisheye lenses with stereographic projection schemes.
On the other hand, reference 17 provides various examples of obtaining panoramic images following cylindrical projection schemes, equirectangular projection schemes, and Mercator projection schemes from images acquired using rotationally symmetric wideangle lenses including fisheye lenses. Referring to
For general wideangle lenses, the image height r is given by Eq. 9.
Math Figure 9
r=r(θ) [Math.9]
Here, the unit of the incidence angle θ is radian, and the above function r(θ) is a monotonically increasing function of the zenith angle θ of the incident ray.
Such a real projection scheme of a lens can be experimentally measured using an actual lens, or can be calculated from the lens prescription using dedicated lens design software such as Code V or Zemax. For example, the yaxis coordinate y of the image point on the focal plane by an incident ray having given horizontal and vertical incidence angles can be calculated using a Zemax operator REAY, and the xaxis coordinate x can be similarly calculated using an operator REAX.
This image is a square image, of which both the lateral and the longitudinal dimensions are 250 pixels. Therefore, the coordinate of the optical axis is (125.5, 125.5), and the image height for an incident ray with zenith angle 909s given as r′(π/2)=125.5−1=124.5. Here, r′ is not a physical distance, but an image height measured in pixel distance. Since this imaginary fisheye lens follows an equidistance projection scheme, the projection scheme of this lens is given by Eq. 10.
Math Figure 10
The main point of the invention in reference 17 is about methods of obtaining panoramic images by applying mathematically accurate image processing algorithms on images obtained using rotationally symmetric wideangle lenses. Numerous embodiments in reference 17 can be summarized as follows.
The world coordinate system of the said invention takes the nodal point N of a rotationally symmetric wideangle lens as the origin, and a vertical line passing through the origin as the Yaxis. Here, the vertical line is a line perpendicular to the ground plane, or more precisely to the horizontal plane(917). The Xaxis and the Zaxis of the world coordinate system are contained within the ground plane. The optical axis(901) of the said wideangle lens generally does not coincide with the Yaxis, and can be contained within the ground plane (i.e., parallel to the ground), or is not contained within the ground plane. The plane(904) containing both the said Yaxis and the said optical axis(901) is referred to as the reference plane. The intersection line(902) between this reference plane(904) and the ground plane(917) coincides with the Zaxis of the world coordinate system. On the other hand, an incident ray(905) originating from an object point Q having a rectangular coordinate (X, Y, Z) in the world coordinate system has an altitude angle 6 from the ground plane, and an azimuth angle ψ with respect to the reference plane. The plane(906) containing both the Yaxis and the said incident ray(905) is the incidence plane. The horizontal incidence angle ψ of the said incident ray with respect to the said reference plane is given by Eq. 11.
Math Figure 11
On the other hand, the vertical incidence angle (i.e., the altitude angle) δ subtended by the said incident ray and the XZ plane is given by Eq. 12.
Math Figure 12
The elevation angle μ of the said incident ray is given by Eq. 13, wherein x is an arbitrary angle larger than −90° and smaller than 90°.
Math Figure 13
μ=δ−χ [Math.13]
The real image of the objects on the object plane(1031) formed by the fisheye lens(1012) is converted by the image sensor(1013) into electrical signals, and displayed as an uncorrected image plane(1034) on the image display means(1015). This uncorrected image plane(1034) contains a barrel distortion by the fisheye lens. This distorted image plane can be rectified by the image processing means(1016), and then displayed as a processed image plane(1035) on an image display means(1017) such as a computer monitor or a CCTV monitor. Said image processing can be software image processing by a computer, or hardware image processing by Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGA) or ARM core processors.
An arbitrary rotationally symmetric lens including a fisheye lens does not provide said panoramic image or a distortionfree rectilinear image. Therefore, image processing stage is essential in order to obtain a desirable image.
If the lateral dimension of the image sensor plane(1013) is B and the longitudinal dimension is V, then the lateral dimension of the uncorrected image plane is gB and the longitudinal dimension is gV, where g is proportionality constant.
Uncorrected image plane(1134) can be considered as the image displayed on the image display means without rectification of distortion, and is a magnified image of the real image on the image sensor plane by a magnification ratio g. For example, the image sensor plane of a ⅓inch CCD sensor has a rectangular shape having a lateral dimension of 4.8 mm, and a longitudinal dimension of 3.6 mm. On the other hand, if the monitor is 48 cm in width and 36 cm in height, then the magnification ratio g is 100. More desirably, the side dimension of a pixel in a digital image is considered as 1. A VGAgrade ⅓inch CCD sensor has pixels in an array form with 640 columns and 480 rows. Therefore, each pixel has a right rectangular shape with both width and height measuring as 4.8 mm/640=7.5 μm, and in this case, the magnification ratio g is given by 1 pixel/7.5 μm=133.3 pixel/mm. In recapitulation, the uncorrected image plane(1134) is a distorted digital image obtained by converting the real image formed on the image sensor plane into electrical signals.
The first intersection point O on the image sensor plane is the intersection point between the optical axis and the image sensor plane. Therefore, a ray entered along the optical axis forms an image point on the said first intersection point O. By definition, the point O′ on the uncorrected image plane corresponding to the first intersection point O in the image sensor plane—hereinafter referred to as the second intersection point—corresponds to the image point by an incident ray entered along the optical axis.
A second rectangular coordinate systems is assumed wherein x′axis is taken as the axis that passes through the second intersection point O′ on the uncorrected image plane and is parallel to the lateral side of the uncorrected image plane, and y′axis is taken as the axis that passes through the said second intersection point O′ and is parallel to the longitudinal side of the uncorrected image plane. The positive direction of the x′axis runs from the left to the right, and the positive direction of the y′axis runs from the top to the bottom. Then, the lateral coordinate x′ of an arbitrary point on the uncorrected image plane(1134) has a minimum value x′_{1}=gx_{1 }and a maximum value x′_{2}=gx_{2 }(i.e., gx_{1}≦x′≦gx_{2}). In the same manner, the longitudinal coordinate y′ of the said point has a minimum value y′_{1}=gy_{1 }and a maximum value y′_{2}=gy_{2 }(i.e., gy_{1}≦y′≦gy_{2}).
The first and the second intersection points correspond to the location of the optical axis. On the other hand, the third intersection point corresponds not to the location of the optical axis but to the principal direction of vision. The principal direction of vision may coincide with the optical axis, but it is not needed to. Principal direction of vision is the direction of the optical axis of an imaginary panoramic or rectilinear camera corresponding to the desired panoramic or rectilinear images. Hereinafter, for the sake of notational simplicity, the principal direction of vision is referred to as the optical axis direction.
The lateral coordinate x″ of a third point P″ on the processed image plane(1235) has a minimum value x″_{1 }and a maximum value x″_{2 }(i.e., x″_{1}≦x″≦x″_{2}). By definition, the difference between the maximum lateral coordinate and the minimum lateral coordinate is the lateral dimension of the processed image plane(i.e., x″_{2}−x″_{1}=W). In the same manner, the longitudinal coordinate y″ of the third point P″ has a minimum value y″_{1 }and a maximum value y″_{2 }(i.e., y″_{1}≦y″≦y″_{2}). By definition, the difference between the maximum longitudinal coordinate and the minimum longitudinal coordinate is the longitudinal dimension of the processed image plane(i.e., y″_{2}−y″_{1}=H).
The following table 1 summarizes corresponding variables in the object plane, the image sensor plane, the uncorrected image plane, and the processed image plane.
On the other hand, if we assume the coordinate of an image point P″ on the processed image plane(1235) corresponding to an object point with a coordinate (X, Y, Z) in the world coordinate system is (x″, y″), then the said image processing means process the image so that the image point corresponding to an incident ray originating from the said object point appears on the said screen with the coordinate (x″, y″), wherein the lateral coordinate x″ of the image point is given by Eq. 14.
Math Figure 14
x″=cψ [Math.14]
Here, c is proportionality constant.
Furthermore, the longitudinal coordinate y″ of the said image point is given by Eq. 15.
Math Figure 15
y″=cF(μ) [Math.15]
Here, F(μ) is a monotonically increasing function passing through the origin. In mathematical terminology, it means that Eqs. 16 and 17 are satisfied.
Math Figure 16
F(0)=0 [Math.16]
Math Figure 17
The above function F can take an arbitrary form, but the most desirable forms are given by Eqs. 18 through 21.
Math Figure 18
F(μ)=tan μ [Math.18]
Math Figure 19
Math Figure 20
F(μ)=μ [Math.20]
Math Figure 21
To obtain a panoramic image with a horizontal FOV around 180°, it is desirable to install the image acquisition means(1310) on top of the trunk of a passenger car, and to align the optical axis at a certain angle with the ground plane. Furthermore, a fisheye lens with more than 180° FOV and having an equidistance projection scheme is most preferable, and the image display means is desirably installed next to the driver seat.
It is possible to obtain said panoramic image using a wideangle camera with its optical axis inclined toward the ground plane. In this case, the world coordinate system takes the nodal point N of the imaging system(1310) as the origin, and takes a vertical line that is perpendicular to the ground plane as the Yaxis, and the Zaxis is set parallel to the car(1351) axle. According to the convention of right handed coordinate system, the positive direction of the Xaxis is the direction directly plunging into the paper in
Regarding the rotation of coordinate system, it is convenient to use the Euler matrices. For this, the coordinate of an object point Q in three dimensional space is designated as a three dimensional vector as given below.
Math Figure 22
Here, {right arrow over (Q)} is the three dimensional vector in the world coordinate system starting at the origin and ending at the point Q. Then, the coordinate of a new point obtainable by rotating the point Q in the space by an angle of −α around the Xaxis is given by multiplying the matrix given in Eq. 23 on the above vector.
Math Figure 23
Likewise, the matrix given in Eq. 24 can be used to find the coordinate of a new point which is obtainable by rotating the point Q by angle −β around the Yaxis, and the matrix given in Eq. 25 can be used to find the coordinate of a new point which is obtainable by rotating the point Q by angle −γ around the Zaxis.
Math Figure 24
Math Figure 25
Matrices in Eqs. 23 through 25 can describe the case where the coordinate system is fixed and the point in space has been rotated, but also the same matrices can describe the case where the point in space is fixed and the coordinate system has been rotated in the reverse direction. These two cases are mathematically equivalent. Therefore, the coordinate of a point Q in the first world coordinate system which is obtained by rotating the world coordinate system by angle α around the Xaxis as indicated in
Math Figure 26
Using the matrix given in Eq. 23, the coordinate in the first world coordinate system can be given as follows in terms of the coordinate in the world coordinate system.
Math Figure 27
X′=X [Math.27]
Math Figure 28
Y′=Y cos α+Z sin α [Math.28]
Math Figure 29
Z′=−Y sin α+Z cos α [Math.29]
Referring to
Math Figure 30
Math Figure 31
Math Figure 32
Here, the angle χ is 0°. Therefore, the function F(δ) is identical to the function F(μ) given in Eqs. 16 through 21. In other words, it is true that F(δ)=F(μ). Next, it is assumed that an incident ray having these horizontal and vertical incidence angles has been originated from an object point on a hemisphere with a radius S having its center at the nodal point of the lens. Then, the coordinate of the said object point in the world coordinate system is given by Eqs. 33 through 36.
Math Figure 33
X=S cos δ sin ψ [Math.33]
Math Figure 34
Y=S sin δ [Math.34]
Math Figure 35
Z=S cos δ cos ψ [Math.35]
Math Figure 36
S=√{square root over (X^{2}+Y^{2}+Z^{2})}
The coordinate of this object point in the first world coordinate system is given by Eqs. 27 through 29. The X′, Y′ and Z′axes of this first world coordinate system are parallel to the x, y, and zaxes of the first rectangular coordinate system, respectively. Therefore, the zenith and the azimuth angles of the incident ray are given by Eqs. 37 and 38.
Math Figure 37
Math Figure 38
Finally, two dimensional rectangular coordinate (x′, y′) of the second point in the uncorrected image plane having these zenith and azimuth angles can be obtained from the two dimensional polar coordinate by Eqs. 39 and 40.
Math Figure 39
x′=gr(θ)cos φ [Math.39]
Math Figure 40
y′=gr(θ)sin φ [Math.40]
Using Eqs. 9 through 40, a panoramic image having an ideal projection scheme can be extracted from an image acquired using a fisheye lens exhibiting the distortion aberration. First, depending on the user'"'"'s need, a desirable size (W, H) of the panoramic image, and the location of the third intersection point O″ are determined. The said third intersection point can be located even outside the processed image plane. In other words, the range of the lateral coordinate (x″_{1}≦x″≦x″_{2}) on the processed image plane as well as the range of the longitudinal coordinate (y″_{1}≦y″<y″_{2}) can take arbitrary real numbers. Also, the horizontal FOV Δψ of this panoramic image (i.e., the processed image plane) is determined. The functional form of F(δ) dictating the desirable projection scheme along the vertical direction is determined, as well. Then, the horizontal incidence angle w and the vertical incidence angle δ of an incident ray corresponding to the third point on the panoramic image having a rectangular coordinate (x″, y″) can be obtained using Eqs. 30 through 32. Then, the zenith angle θ and the azimuth angle φ of an incident ray having the said horizontal incidence angle and the vertical incidence angle are calculated using Eqs. 37 and 38. Next, the real image height r corresponding to the zenith angle θ of the incident ray is obtained using Eq. 9. Utilizing the real image height r, the magnification ratio g, and the azimuth angle φ of the incident ray, the rectangular coordinate (x′, y′) of the image point on the uncorrected image plane is obtained using Eqs. 39 and 40. In this procedure, the coordinate of the second intersection point on the uncorrected image plane, or equivalently the first intersection point on the image sensor plane, has to be accurately determined. Such a location of the intersection point can be easily found using various methods including image processing method. Since such technique is well known to the people in this field, it will not be described in this document. Finally, the video signal (i.e., RGB signal) by the fisheye lens from the image point having said rectangular coordinate is given as the video signal for the image point on the panoramic image having the rectangular coordinate (x″, y″). A panoramic image having an ideal projection scheme can be obtained by image processing for all the image points on the processed image plane by the abovedescribed method.
Considering the fact that all the image sensors and display devices are digital devices, image processing procedure must use the following set of equations. First, a desirable size of the processed image plane and the location (I_{o}, J_{o}) of the third intersection point are determined. Here, the location (I_{o}, J_{o}) of the third intersection point refers to the pixel coordinate of the third intersection point O″. Conventionally, the coordinate of a pixel on the upper left corner of a digitized image is defined as (1, 1) or (0, 0). In the current invention, we will assume that the coordinate of the pixel on the upper left corner is given as (1, 1). Then, the horizontal incidence angle ψ_{1 }corresponding to the lateral pixel coordinate of J=1 and the horizontal incidence angle ψ_{Jmax }corresponding to the lateral pixel coordinate of J=J_{max }are determined. Then, for every pixel (I, J) on the processed image plane, the horizontal incidence angle ψ_{J }and the vertical incidence angle δ_{1 }are calculated using Eqs. 41 and 42.
Math Figure 41
Math Figure 42
From the above horizontal and vertical incidence angles, the coordinate of an imaginary object point in the world coordinate system is calculated using Eqs. 43 through 45.
Math Figure 43
X_{I,J}=cos δ_{I }sin ψ_{J} [Math.43]
Math Figure 44
Y_{I,J}=sin δ_{I} [Math.44]
Math Figure 45
Z_{I,J}=cos δ_{I }cos ψ_{J} [Math.45]
Here, the object distance S does not affect the final outcome and thus it is assumed as 1 for the sake of simplicity. From this coordinate of the object point in the world coordinate system, the coordinate of the object point in the first world coordinate system is calculated from Eqs. 46 through 48.
Math Figure 46
X′_{I,J}=X_{I,J} [Math.46]
Math Figure 47
Y′_{I,J}=Y_{I,J }cos α+Z_{I,J }sin α [Math.47]
Math Figure 48
Z′_{I,J}=−Y_{I,J }sin α+Z_{I,J }cos α [Math.48]
From this coordinate, the zenith angle θ_{I,J }and the azimuth angle Φ_{I,J }of the incident ray are calculated using Eqs. 49 and 50,
Math Figure 49
θ_{I,J}=cos^{−1}(Z′_{I,J}) [Math.49]
Math Figure 50
Next, the image height r_{I,J }on the image sensor plane is calculated using Eq. 51.
Math Figure 51
r_{I,J}=r(θ_{I,J}) [Math.51]
Then, the position (K_{o}, L_{o}) of the second intersection point on the uncorrected image plane and the magnification ratio g are used to find the position of the second point on the uncorrected image plane.
Math Figure 52
x′_{I,J}=L_{o}+gr_{I,J }cos(φ_{I,J}) [Math.52]
Math Figure 53
y′_{I,J}=K_{o}+gr_{I,J }sin(φ_{I,J}) [Math.53]
Once the position of the corresponding second point has been found, diverse interpolation methods such as the nearestneighbor method, the bilinear interpolation method, and the bicubic interpolation method can be used to obtain a panoramic image.
One point which needs special attention when using such an imaging system as a car rear view camera is the fact that for a device (i.e., a car) of which the moving direction is the exact opposite of the optical axis direction of the image acquisition means, it can cause a great confusion to the driver if a panoramic image obtained by above described method is displayed without any further processing. Since the car rear view camera is heading toward the backside of the car, the right end of the car appears as the left end on the monitor showing the images captured by the rear view camera. However, the driver can fool himself by thinking that the image is showing the left end of the car from his own viewpoint of looking at the front end of the car, and thus, there is a great danger of possible accidents. To prevent such a perilous confusion, it is important to switch the left and the right sides of the image obtained using a car rear view camera before displaying it on the monitor. The video signal S′(I, J) for the pixel in a mirrored (i.e., the left and the right sides are exchanged) processed image plane with a coordinate (I, J) is given by the video signal S(I, J_{max}−J+1) from the pixel in the processed image plane with coordinate (I, J_{max}−J+1).
Math Figure 54
S′(I,J)=S(I,J_{max}−J+1) [Math.54]
Identical image acquisition means can be installed near the room mirror, frontal bumper, or the radiator grill in order to be used as a recording camera connected to a car black box for the purpose of recording vehicle'"'"'s driving history.
Above embodiment has been described in relation to a car rear view camera, but it must be obvious that the usefulness of the invention described in this embodiment is not limited to a car rear view camera.
Said invention in reference 17 provides image processing algorithms for extracting mathematically accurate panoramic images and devices implementing the algorithms. In many cases, however, distortionfree rectilinear image can be of more value. Or, it can be more satisfactory when panoramic images and rectilinear images are both available.
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 [reference 8] G. Kweon, Y. Choi, G. Kim, and S. Yang, “Extraction of perspectively normal images from video sequences obtained using a catadioptric panoramic lens with the rectilinear projection scheme”, Technical Proceedings of the 10th World MultiConference on Systemics, Cybernetics, and Informatics, 6775 (Orlando, Fla., USA, June, 2006).
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The purpose of the present invention is to provide image processing algorithms for extracting natural looking panoramic images and rectilinear images from digitized images acquired using a camera equipped with a wideangle lens which is rotationally symmetric about an optical axis and devices implementing such algorithms.
The present invention provides image processing algorithms that are accurate in principle based on the geometrical optics principle regarding image formation by wideangle lenses with distortion and mathematical definitions of panoramic and rectilinear images.
By applying accurate image processing algorithms on images obtained using a rotationally symmetric wideangle lens, panoramic images that appear most natural to the naked eye as well as rectilinear images can be obtained.
Referring to
The imaging system of the present embodiment is heading in an arbitrary direction, and the third rectangular coordinate system takes the optical axis(1601) of the imaging system as the negative z″axis, and the nodal point of the lens as the origin. Image sensor plane has a rectangular shape with a lateral width B and a longitudinal height V, and the image sensor plane is a plane perpendicular to the optical axis. On the other hand, the processed image plane has a rectangular shape with a lateral width W and a longitudinal height H. The xaxis of the first rectangular coordinate system, the x′axis of the second rectangular coordinate system, the x″axis of the third rectangular coordinate system and the Xaxis of the world coordinate system are all parallel to the lateral side of the image sensor plane. Furthermore, the zaxis of the first rectangular coordinate system, the z′axis of the second rectangular coordinate system, and the z″axis of the third rectangular coordinate systems are all identical to each other and opposite to the Zaxis of the world coordinate system.
In the present embodiment, the processed image plane is assumed to be located at a distance s″ from the nodal point of the lens. In a rectilinear projection scheme, the shape of the object plane(1631) is also a plane perpendicular to the optical axis, and the image of objects on the object plane is faithfully reproduced on the processed image plane(1635) with both the lateral and the longitudinal scales preserved. The ideal projection scheme of a rectilinear lens is identical to the projection scheme of a pinhole camera. Considering the simple geometrical characteristics of a pinhole camera, it is convenient to assume that the shape and the size of the object plane(1631) are identical to those of the processed image plane. Therefore, the distance from the object plane(1631) to the nodal point N of the lens is also assumed as s″.
On the other hand,
The distance between the third intersection point O″ on the processed image plane to the third point P″, or the image height r″ is given by Eq. 55.
Math Figure 55
r″=√{square root over ((x″)^{2}+(y″)^{2})}{square root over ((x″)^{2}+(y″)^{2})}
Since the virtual distance between the nodal point of the lens to the processed image plane is s″, an incident ray arriving at the third point by the rectilinear lens has a zenith angle given by Eq. 56.
Math Figure 56
On the other hand, the azimuth angle of the said incident ray is given by Eq. 57.
Math Figure 57
Therefore, when an incident ray having the said zenith angle and the said azimuth angle forms an image point on the image sensor plane by the image forming properties of the lens, the coordinate of the image point is given by Eqs. 58 and 59.
Math Figure 58
x′=gr(θ)cos φ [Math.58]
Math Figure 59
y′=gr(θ)sin φ [Math.59]
Therefore, it is only necessary to substitute the signal value of the third point on the processed image plane by the signal value of the image point on the uncorrected image plane having such a rectangular coordinate.
In absence of a slide action, in other words, when the position of the third intersection point coincides with the center of the processed image plane, the following equation given in Eq. 60 is satisfied.
Math Figure 60
Using Eq. 60, the virtual distance s″ of the processed image plane having given horizontal or vertical FOVs can be calculated. Purely for the purpose of convenience, the size (W, H) of the processed image plane and the horizontal FOV is first determined. Then, the virtual distance of the processed image plane is obtained, and from this distance, the symmetrical vertical FOV Δδ is automatically determined. On the other hand, if the coordinate of the center of the processed image plane is given by (x″_{c}, y″_{c}) as a result of a slide operation, then the following Eqs. 61 and 62 are satisfied.
Math Figure 61
Math Figure 62
Here, ψ_{max }and ψ_{min }are the maximum and the minimum incidence angles in the horizontal direction, and likewise, δ_{max }and δ_{min }are the maximum and the minimum incidence angles in the vertical direction. Furthermore, irrespective of the position of the center, the following relation given in Eq. 63 must be satisfied all the time.
Math Figure 63
Similar to the said embodiment of the invention of a prior art, considering the facts that all the image sensors and the display devices are digital devices, it is convenient to use the following equations in image processing procedure. First of all, the size (I, J_{max}) of the processed image plane and the horizontal FOV Δψ prior to any slide operation are determined. Then, the pixel distance s″ between the nodal point of the lens and the processed image plane can be obtained using Eq. 64.
Math Figure 64
Furthermore, the coordinate of the center of the processed image plane is given by Eq. 65.
Math Figure 65
Here, Eq. (65) reflects the convention that the coordinate of the pixel on the upper left corner of a digital image is given as (1, 1).
Next, according to the needs, the displacement (ΔI, ΔJ) of the said center from the third intersection point is determined. Once such preparatory stage has been finished, the zenith angle given in Eq. 66 and the azimuth angle given in Eq. 67 are calculated for every pixel on the processed image plane.
Math Figure 66
Math Figure 67
Next, the image height r_{u }on the image sensor plane is calculated using Eq. 68.
Math Figure 68
r_{I,J}=r(θ_{I,J}) [Math.68]
Next, the position of the second point on the uncorrected image plane is calculated using the position of the second intersection point on the uncorrected image plane and the magnification ratio g.
Math Figure 69
x′_{I,J}=L_{o}+gr_{I,J }cos(φ_{I,J}) [Math.69]
Math Figure 70
y′_{I,J}=K_{o}+gr_{I,J }sin(φ_{I,J}) [Math.70]
Once the position of the corresponding second point has been found, the rectilinear image can be obtained using the previously described interpolation methods.
On the other hand,
On the other hand,
A complication arises if it is desired to endow more than 180° FOV to the builtin lens for a cellular phone. If the lens does not protrude from the wall of the cellular phone, then the wall occlude the view of the lens even if the lens itself has a FOV which is larger than 180°. Therefore, in order to obtain a FOV which is greater than 180°, the lens must protrude from the wall of the cellular phone. However, due to the characteristics of a cellular phone being carried by the user all the time, a protruding lens can be scratched or stained. Considering this fact, a lens cover can be procured to cover the lens when the builtin camera is not in use. Another method is to make the camera module to come out from the wall of the cellular phone only when the phone camera is to be used. Finally, the easiest method is to make the FOV of the lens less than 170°. For such a FOV, the lens needs not protrude from the wall, and a fixed lens module is sufficient. Considering the fact that the horizontal FOV of a panoramic camera with a rotating lens is only 120°, it is apparent that such a FOV can be enough for the customer satisfaction.
Identical techniques can be used in PC camera or web camera, and the computing power for the necessary image processing can be provided by a PC connected to the PC camera, or a computer of another user connected to the Internet, or a network server. Furthermore, a fisheye image can be acquired using a digital camera equipped with a fisheye lens, then a panoramic image or a rectilinear image can be extracted using an image editing software running on PC.
If a camera equipped with a fisheye lens with 180° FOV is installed on an interior wall, then practically, there is no dead zone of security monitoring. It is because the region not captured by the camera is the wall that needs not be securitymonitored. However, as has been stated previously, an image by a fisheye lens causes psychological discomfort due to its barrel distortion. On the other hand, although an ultra wideangle image extracted in the manner of the first embodiment of the present invention captures most of the interior scene, captured objects far from the optical axis do not appear natural to the naked eye. In this case, the most natural looking image is a rectilinear image that can be acquired by heading the camera to the direction of the object.
A camera that can physically provide such an image is a camera equipped with a rectilinear lens and mounted on a pan•tilt stage. Since camera can be oriented to the direction that needs most attention, a most satisfactory image can be provided. Furthermore, images can be continuously produced while dynamically tracking a moving object such as a cat or an intruder. A method of realizing such functionality with software is provided as follows.
Due to the mathematical properties of threedimensional rotations, different images are obtained depending on which of the two operations, namely a pan or a tilt operation has been taken first. In this embodiment, we assume that a pan operation has been taken first. Furthermore, as in the first embodiment, slide and zoom operations are allowed. However, slide and zoom operations must precede the pan operation, and the tilt operation is assumed to follow the pan operation. The coordinate system describing the objects prior to the pan operation is the world coordinate system, the coordinate system after the pan operation is the first world coordinate system, and the coordinate system after the tilt operation is the second world coordinate system. The X″, Y″ and Z″axes of the second world coordinate system are respectively parallel to the x, y and zaxes of the first rectangular coordinate system.
First of all, as in the first embodiment of the present invention, the size (W, H) of the processed image plane and the horizontal FOV Δψ prior to the slide operation are determined. Then, the distance s″ of the processed image plane is determined by Eq. 60. Next, a proper amount (x″_{c}, y″_{c}) of slide operation is determined in order to obtain a desirable horizontal FOV (ψ_{min}≦ψ≦ψ_{max}) and a vertical FOV (δ_{min}≦δ≦δ_{max}). Every object point on the object plane corresponding to the image point on the processed image plane has a zenith angle given by Eq. 56 and an azimuth angle given by Eq. 57. Then, the coordinate of an object point Q at an object distance R from the nodal point of the lens is given by Eqs. 71 through 74.
Math Figure 71
X=R sin θ cos φ [Math.71]
Math Figure 72
Y=R sin θ sin φ [Math.72]
Math Figure 73
Z=R cos θ [Math.73]
Math Figure 74
R=√{square root over (X^{2}+Y^{2}+Z^{2})}
Here, the object distance can take an arbitrary value, and can be taken as 1 for the sake of simplicity.
In the coordinate system of the current invention, pan operation is a rotational operation around the Yaxis, and tilt operation is a rotational operation around the X′axis. The coordinate of a new point which corresponds to an object point in the world coordinate system having a coordinate (X, Y, Z) rotated around the Yaxis by angle −β is given as (X′, Y′, Z′), and the coordinate of yet another point which corresponds to the said new point rotated around the X′axis by angle −α is given as (X″, Y″, Z″). Utilizing the Euler matrices given in the first embodiment of the present invention, the coordinate of the new point is given by Eq. 75.
Math Figure 75
The following relation holds due to the mathematical properties of Euler matrices.
Math Figure 76
M_{X′}(α)=M_{Y}(β)M_{X}(α)M_{Y}(−β) [Math.76]
Therefore, Eq. 75 can be expressed in a simpler form as given below.
Math Figure 77
By calculating these rotational matrices, the coordinate of the new point is given by Eqs. 78 through 80.
Math Figure 78
X″=X cos β+Y sin β sin α+Z sin β cos α [Math.78]
Math Figure 79
Y″=Y cos α−Z sin α [Math.79]
Math Figure 80
Z″=−X sin β+Y cos β sin α+Z cos β cos α [Math.80]
The procedure for finding the coordinate of the first point from the coordinate of this new point is identical to that of the first embodiment.
Considering the fact that all the image sensors and display means are digital devices, image processing for a rectilinear projection scheme can be done using the procedure outlined below.
First, the size (I_{max}, J_{max}) of the processed image plane, the horizontal field of view Δψ, the vertical field of view Δδ, and the pixel distance s″ from the nodal point of the lens to the processed image plane satisfying Eq. 81 are obtained.
Math Figure 81
The coordinate of the center of the processed image plane is given by Eq. 82.
Math Figure 82
Next, according to the needs, the displacement (LM, M) of the said center from the third intersection point is determined. Once such preparatory stage has been completed, the zenith angle given in Eq. 83 and the azimuth angle given in Eq. 84 are calculated for all the pixels on the processed image plane.
Math Figure 83
Math Figure 84
Next, the coordinate of the object point Q on the object plane having these zenith and azimuth angles is calculated using Eqs. 85 through 87.
Math Figure 85
X_{I,J}=sin θ_{I,J }cos φ_{I,J} [Math.85]
Math Figure 86
Y_{I,J}=sin θ_{I,J }sin φ_{I,J} [Math.86]
Math Figure 87
Z_{I,J}=cos θ_{I,J} [Math.87]
Here, the object distance has been assumed as 1. Next, the coordinate of this object point in the second world coordinate system is calculated using Eqs. 88 through 90.
Math Figure 88
X″_{I,J}=X_{I,J }cos β+Y_{I,J }sin β sin α+Z_{I,J }sin β cos α [Math.88]
Math Figure 89
Y″_{I,J}=Y_{I,J }cos α−Z_{I,J }sin α [Math.89]
Math Figure 90
Z″_{I,J}=−X_{I,J }sin β+Y_{I,J }cos β sin α+Z_{I,J }cos β cos α [Math.90]
From this coordinate, the zenith angle θ_{I,J }and the azimuth angle φ_{I,J }of the incident ray are calculated using Eqs. 91 and 92.
Math Figure 91
θ_{I,J}=cos^{−1}(Z″_{I,J}) [Math.91]
Math Figure 92
Next, the image height r_{u }on the image sensor plane is calculated using Eq. 93.
Math Figure 93
r_{I,J}=r(θ_{I,J}) [Math.93]
Next, the position of the second point on the uncorrected image plane is obtained from the position (K_{o}, L_{O}) of the second intersection point on the uncorrected image plane and the magnification ratio g.
Math Figure 94
x′_{I,J}=L_{o}+gr_{I,J }cos(φ_{I,J}) [Math.94]
Math Figure 95
y′_{I,J}=K_{o}+gr_{I,J }sin(φ_{I,J}) [Math.95]
Once the position of the second point has been found, the rectilinear image can be obtained using interpolation methods identical to those described in the first embodiment.
Math Figure 96
By evaluating these rotational matrices, the coordinate of the object point in the second world coordinate system is given by Eqs. 97 through 99.
Math Figure 97
X″=X cos β+Z sin β [Math.97]
Math Figure 98
Y″=X sin α sin β+Y cos α−Z sin α cos β [Math.98]
Math Figure 99
Z″=−X cos α sin β+Y sin α+Z cos α cos β [Math.99]
The procedure for finding the coordinate of the second point from the coordinate of the object point is identical to that given in the third embodiment.
Considering the fact that all the image sensors and display means are digital devices, image processing for the rectilinear projection scheme can be done using the procedure outlined below.
First, the size (I_{max}, J_{max}) of the processed image plane, the horizontal field of view Δψ, the vertical field of view Δδ, and the pixel distance s″ from the nodal point of the lens to the processed image plane satisfying Eq. 100 are obtained.
Math Figure 100
The coordinate of the center of the processed image plane is given by Eq. 101.
Math Figure 101
Next, according to the needs, the displacement (ΔI, ΔJ) of the said center from the third intersection point is determined. Once such preparatory stage has been completed, the zenith angle given in Eq. 102 and the azimuth angle given in Eq. 103 are calculated for all the pixels on the processed image plane.
Math Figure 102
Math Figure 103
Next, the coordinate of the object point Q on the object plane having these zenith and azimuth angles are calculated using Eqs. 104 through 106.
Math Figure 104
X_{I,J}=sin θ_{I,J }cos φ_{I,J} [Math.104]
Math Figure 105
Y_{I,J}=sin θ_{I,J }sin φ_{I,J} [Math.105]
Math Figure 106
Z_{I,J}=cos θ_{I,J} [Math.106]
Next, the coordinate of this object point in the second world coordinate system is calculated using Eqs. 107 through 109.
Math Figure 107
X″_{I,J}=X_{I,J }cos β+Z_{I,J }sin β [Math.107]
Math Figure 108
Y″_{I,J}=X_{I,J }sin α sin β+Y_{I,J }cos α−Z_{I,J }sin α cos β [Math.108]
Math Figure 109
Z″_{I,J}=−X_{I,J }cos α sin β+Y_{I,J }sin α+Z_{I,J }cos α cos β [Math.109]
From this coordinate, the zenith angle θ_{I,J }and the azimuth angle φ_{I,J }of the incident ray are calculated using Eqs. 110 and 111.
Math Figure 110
θ_{I,J}=cos^{−1}(Z″_{I,J}) [Math.110]
Math Figure 111
Next, the image height r_{u }on the image sensor plane is calculated using Eq. 112.
Math Figure 112
r_{I,J}=r(θ_{I,J}) [Math.112]
Next, the position of the second point on the uncorrected image plane is obtained from the position (K_{o}, L_{o}) of the second intersection point on the uncorrected image plane and the magnification ratio g.
Math Figure 113
x′_{I,J}=L_{o}+gr_{I,J }cos(φ_{I,J}) [Math.113]
Math Figure 114
y′_{I,J}=K_{o}+gr_{I,J }sin(φ_{I,J}) [Math.114]
Once the position of the corresponding second point has been found, the rectilinear image can be obtained using interpolation methods identical to those described in the first and the second embodiments.
Such rectilinear projection schemes can be summarized as follows. The world coordinate system employed by the imaging system of the current invention is schematically shown in
Math Figure 115
Generally speaking, a rectilinear projection scheme is a scheme wherein a second world coordinate system (X″, Y″, Z″) exist such that the relation given in Eq. 115 holds true for all the image points (x″, y″) on the processed image plane, where the second world coordinate system (X″, Y″, Z″) is a coordinate system obtainable by rotating and translating the said world coordinate system (X, Y, Z) in the threedimensional space by arbitrary number of times and in random orders.
On the other hand, at the time of parking or backing up the car, the image of the immediate back area of the car will be most helpful rather than the view of a remote scenery. To acquire an image of the far behind area while driving the car, the optical axis(3201) of the image acquisition means(3210) will be aligned parallel to the ground plane(3217). Therefore, in order to visually check the obstacles lying behind the car or the parking lane, the pan•tilt operations presented in the first through the third embodiments of the present invention will be helpful.
On the other hand,
From the
The fisheye images acquired from these cameras are gathered by the image processing means(4116), and displayed on the image display means(4117) after proper image processing operation has been taken, and it can be simultaneously recorded on an image recording means(4118). This image recording means can be a DVR (Digital Video Recorder).
Another device connected to this image processing means(4116) is a situation awareness module or an image selection means. This image selection means receives signal from the electronic circuitry of the car which indicates whether the car is running forward, backing up, or the driver gave the changelane signal to turn to the left or to the right. Even when the vehicle is moving forward, it may be necessary to differentiate between a fast and a slow driving. Independent of all these signals, the driver can manually override the signals by manipulating the menus on the dashboard in order to force the projection scheme and the parameters of the image displayed on the image display means. Based upon such signals supplied by the image selection means, the image processing means provide the most appropriate images suitable for the current driving situation such as the images from the leftside camera(4110L) or the rear view camera(4110B).
Even if the rear view camera(4110B) is the only camera installed at the vehicle, the situation awareness module is still useful. For example, when the car is moving forward, panoramic image such as the one given in
When several cameras are simultaneously used as in
In summary, imaging system for vehicles includes an image acquisition means for acquiring an uncorrected image plane which is equipped with a wideangle lens rotationally symmetric about an optical axis, image processing means producing a processed image plane from the uncorrected image plane, image selection means determining the projection scheme and the parameters of the processed image plane, and image display means displaying the processed image plane on a screen with a rectangular shape. The projection schemes of the said processed image plane include a panoramic projection scheme and a rectilinear projection scheme. A vehicle is a device having an imaging system for vehicles.
The world coordinate system for this imaging system takes the nodal point of the wideangle lens as the origin and a vertical line passing through the said origin as the Yaxis. When the coordinate of an image point on the said rectangular shaped screen corresponding to an object point in the world coordinate system having a coordinate (X, Y, Z) is given as (x″, y″), then, said panoramic projection scheme is a scheme wherein straight lines parallel to the said Yaxis in the world coordinate system all appear as straight lines parallel to the y″axis on the said screen, and two objects points having identical angular distance on the XZ plane in the said world coordinate system has an identical distance along the x″axis on the said screen. On the other hand, said rectilinear projection scheme is a scheme wherein an arbitrary straight line in the said world coordinate system appears as a straight line on the said screen.
Such a principle can be used in many other areas beyond the field of imaging systems for vehicles. For example, said device is a camera phone, and said image selection means is a menu button on the camera phone that a user can select. Or, said device is a PC camera, said image acquisition means is a USB CMOS camera with a fisheye lens, and said image processing means is software running on a computer. Or, said device is a digital camera, said image processing means is software running on a computer. In this case, said image acquisition means and said image processing means are two means which are separated not only physically but also in time. In other words, image acquisition means is a digital camera equipped with a fisheye lens and image processing means is image editing software running on a computer, Furthermore, image selection means is a menu button on the image editing software, and said image display means is of course the PC monitor.
In the present embodiment, the procedure of assembling the rectilinear images extracted from each direction is called an image registration. Such an image registration technique is described in detail in reference 18, and basic principle is to calculate a correlation function from at least partially overlapping two subimages and from the peak value of the correlation function, the amount of relative translation or rotation between the two images necessary for the two images to match at its best is determined.
Such an imaging system will be particularly useful for a vehicle with a high stature such as a bus or a truck as schematically illustrated in
Such an imaging system for vehicles is characterized as comprised of the 1st and the 2nd image acquisition means for acquiring the 1st and the 2nd uncorrected image planes using wideangle lenses rotationally symmetric about optical axes, an image processing means for extracting the 1st and the 2nd processed image planes following rectilinear projection schemes from the said 1st and the 2nd uncorrected image planes and subsequently generating a registered processed image plane from the 1st and the 2nd processed image planes, and an image display means for displaying the said registered processed image plane on a rectangular shaped screen. Said device is an automobile having said imaging systems for vehicles.
Preferably, said 1st and 2nd image acquisition means are installed at two corners of the rear end of the vehicle heading downward toward the ground plane, and said registered processed image plane contains the view of the said two corners.
On the other hand,
Preferably, the said 1st through the 4th image acquisition means are installed at the four corners of the building heading downward toward the ground plane, and the said registered processed image plane contains the view of the said four corners.
Panoramic imaging system of the reference 17 requires a direction sensing means in order to constantly provide naturallooking panoramic images irrespective of the inclination of the device having the imaging system with respect to the ground plane. However, it may happen that additional installation of a direction sensing means may be difficult in terms of cost, weight, or volume for some devices such as motorcycle or unmanned aerial vehicle.
Object plane of the current embodiment has a structure where more than two sub object planes are joined together, where each of the sub object plane is a planar surface by itself. Although
In
Said processed image plane is a multiple viewpoint panoramic image, wherein the said multiple viewpoint panoramic image is comprised of the 1st through the nth sub rectilinear image planes laid out horizontally on the said screen, n is a natural number larger than 2, an arbitrary straight line in the world coordinate system having the nodal point of the wideangle lens as the origin appears as a straight line(5381A) on any of the 1st through the nth sub rectilinear image plane, and any straight line in the world coordinate system appearing on more than two adjacent sub rectilinear image planes appears as a connected line segments(5381B1, 538182, 5381B3).
On the other hand,
Situation awareness module or an image selection means has been described in the previous embodiments of the current invention. The image selection means(6077) in
The image processing means of the embodiments of the current invention are preferably implemented on a FPGA (Field Programmable Gate Array) chip. In this case, the said central processing unit, the said input frame buffer, and the said output frame buffer can all be realized on the FPGA chip.
In the case where FPGA chip is used to realize the image processing means, it is not impossible to directly implement the algorithm of the embodiments of the current invention. However, implementing seemingly simple functions such as trigonometrical functions or division on FPGA chip is a quite challenging task, and requires a considerable′ resource. As has been described previously, a better alternative is to make an accurate lookup table using the developed algorithm, store the lookup table on a nonvolatile memory, and do the image processing referring to this lookup table.
On the other hand, if the user prefers to be able to continuously change the pan or the tilt angle of rectilinear images, then it is impossible to prepare all the corresponding lookup tables in advance. In this case, the central processing unit can dynamically generate the lookup table referring to the algorithm and the parameters corresponding to the user'"'"'s selection, and store them on a volatile or a nonvolatile memory. Therefore, if the user does not provide a new input by appropriate means such as moving the mouse, then already generated lookup table is used for the image processing, and when a new input is supplied, then a corresponding lookup table is promptly generated and stored in the said memory.
In one preferable embodiment of the imaging system of the current invention, said image acquisition means is an analog CCTV equipped with a fisheye lens with more than 180° FOV, said image processing means is an independent device using a FPGA chip and storing the image processing algorithm on a nonvolatile memory as a lookup table, and the said analog CCTV and the said image processing means are connected by signal and power lines.
Or, said image acquisition means is a network camera equipped with a fisheye lens with more than 180° FOV, said image processing means is an independent device using a FPGA chip and storing the image processing algorithm on a nonvolatile memory as a lookup table, and the uncorrected image plane acquired by the said network camera is supplied to the said image processing means by the Internet.
Preferred embodiments of the current invention have been described in detail referring to the accompanied drawings. However, the detailed description and the embodiments of the current invention are purely for illustrate purpose, and it will be apparent to those skilled in the art that variations and modifications are possible without deviating from the sprits and the scopes of the present invention.
Such panoramic imaging systems and devices can be used not only in security surveillance applications for indoor and outdoor environments, but also in diverse areas such as video phone for apartment entrance door, rear view camera for vehicles, visual sensor for robots, and also it can be used to obtain panoramic photographs using a digital camera.