New Mexico Patent of the Month – May 2023

While the human eye is capable of processing high dynamic range (HDR) environments, most cameras can only capture low dynamic range images that result in a loss of details in either the highlights or shadows. HDR imaging requires capturing several frames of the same scene while changing the exposure from frame to frame, which is not efficient and can cause deterioration if the camera or subject moves. Contrast Inc., leaders in optical design and integration, have recently patented a solution capable of capturing HDR video with mobile devices.

Contrast’s solution is a compact optical system designed to provide HDR image capture and video processing in a mobile device. The optical system includes at least two image sensors and an optical splitting module that reflects about 95% of incident light onto the image sensors. The use of two or more image sensors allows for simultaneous capture of different light levels for the same image, which improves HDR processing in real-time, and accounts for motion from frame to frame. Additionally, the co-planar arrangement of the image sensors on the same substrate allows for improved durability and alignment.

The compact design of the system allows for optimal use in small mobile devices such as smartphones, tablets, or wearable computers, and the use of the same integrated circuit for image capture and processing further reduces manufacturing costs. With this invention, Contrast provides a more efficient, effective, and practical way to capture HDR images and video that can capture details and color ranges that were previously impossible.

Contrast, founded in Albuquerque, NM in 2005, is an optical design and engineering company focused on creating leading-edge, system-level solutions for a variety of partners in commercial, consumer and military markets. They have spent over a decade pioneering and developing custom cameras, optical systems and real-time image processing for clients all over the world. 

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