Pioneering camera technology

A groundbreaking research project at Heriot-Watt University is set to be commercialised with funding from Scottish Enterprise’s (SE) High Growth Spinout Programme. The project, which has developed an advanced camera technology with consistent, full colour, HD resolution at millions of frames per second (Mfps), could revolutionise how biomedical science, engineering, and combustion research is conducted.

It is hoped the new technology will extend beyond traditional research and development to support industries across rail transportation, manufacturing, medicine, and quantum photonics where demand for high-speed imaging has been identified by the team at Heriot-Watt University.

The commercial application of high-speed cameras requires significantly faster image acquisition to capture the detail of extremely rapid, often transient events in applications such as microfluidics, fluidic dynamics, and ballistics studies.

Most existing high-speed imaging systems achieve ultra-high frame rates at the expense of image resolution, making image quality a significant challenge. Additionally, these systems are very expensive, creating a potential financial barrier to industry and research organisations wishing to access the technology.

The unique camera developed by Heriot-Watt University uses a novel architecture and advanced mathematical algorithm to deliver high resolution images across its full speed range. Importantly, this has been achieved at a notably lower manufacturing cost than other market products by using ‘off-the-shelf’ components, making access to high-speed imaging more affordable.

Dr Xu Wang is the inventor of the technology and an associate professor in the Institute of Photonics and Quantum Sciences at Heriot-Watt University. He said: “The most significant limit of existing high-speed cameras is poor resolution at high-frame rate coupled with high cost. Our groundbreaking camera technology provides an affordable market solution that delivers ultra-high speed without compromising high resolution thanks to its superior design and lower manufacturing cost.

“This funding will accelerate the commercialisation of our research to create a product capable of disrupting existing and new markets. The support of the enterprise team at Heriot-Watt University and Scottish Enterprise provides an incredible opportunity to build a profitable, industry-leading business at pace that is focused on driving further innovation in the field of camera technology in Scotland and beyond.”

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