Configurable cameras with MMS architecture


Monocentric multiscale (MMS) lens architecture provides a versatile, compact, high information efficiency and low-cost way of building panoramic imagers which can be easily tailored to various application scenarios. MMS lens consists of two parts, one concentric spherical objective lens with large aperture in front and an array of small aperture microcameras in rear. This front objective collects incoming light and forms a curved focal surface which is then being segmented and relayed by the secondary array optics. Since the front objective is a spherically symmetric element, the configuration of the secondary array optics determines the overall imaging space. Each microcamera can be used as a building block and offers the flexibility of compositing myriad of FoV coverage and easy re-configuration. Another merit of this modular design is that the design of the secondary optics can be varied from channel to channel. In this way, we can construct an imaging system with multi-focal lengths, multi-aperture sizes and other multi-specifications. This varied channel property allows for sub-region adaptive imaging ability. Finally, if multiple MMS lenses are co-designed and used jointly, some combinational functions can be accomplished. To verify these virtues of MMS architecture, we present several design examples in this paper. A rectangular and a 360-degree ring configuration are demonstrated and show different packing choices. Then we illustrate a multi-focal design which shows secondary optics of different channels are modified for a relatively uniform sampling rate of targeted area.