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A Seriously High Speed Video Camera (Video)

Roblimo posted about 4 months ago | from the there-is-no-such-thing-as-too-much-speed dept.

Technology 62

Mike Matter was showing off his edgertronic (named after Harold Eugene "Doc" Edgerton) high speed video camera at O'Reilly's inaugural Solid conference, when Tim Lord happened by his little show booth and started interviewing Mike with his normal speed camcorder. While Tim's camcorder shoots 720p at 30 or 60 frames per second, the edgertronic video camera shoots 720P at 700 frames per second, and can shoot lesser resolutions at up to 18,000 frames per second. But the big breakthrough here isn't performance. It's price. Most high-speed video cameras cost $20,000 to $50,000 (or even more), while Mike's edgertronic starts at a mere $5,495.00. This is still a little steep for hobby photographers, but is not bad for a tool used by professionals. And Kickstarter? You bet! Last year Mike raised $170,175, which was much more than his $97,900 goal. Now he's busy making and shipping cameras, working so many hours that he doesn't have time for his own photography. But sometimes that's the way life goes, and Mike seems to be handling it well. (Alternate Video Link)

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That is high speed! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47258393)

That's almost fast enough to record a slashdot user masturbating to shameful porn before he ejaculates.

Re:That is high speed! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47258743)

Meh. It's been done [theonion.com]

Kerr cell shutter? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47258415)

The camera will have some good applications but I'm more interested in the proprietary shutter technology. Is that a Kerr cell or something new?

Re:Kerr cell shutter? (5, Interesting)

Em Adespoton (792954) | about 4 months ago | (#47258495)

More likely it's using cells as always on, and sampling the signal strength directly with a clocked chip. At that point, your sampling speeds depend on how quickly the cells can change state and how fast you can offload the sampled data.

Based on the product's name, he's probably also making use of stroboscopic properties in interpretation by the sampling software to minimize the amount of data required to be handled in the offloading process.

The cells he's using could be taking advantage of the kerr effect to increase the number of cells in a usable state at any given moment and thus increase the sampling speed accordingly, but he could also just be using fast cells, or use a holographic system, or any other number of methods of assigning cell sets per sample.

He could even be using slow cells, and taking advantage of the stroboscopic effect in software to approximate the actual potential any cell should have if its actual potential and those of nearby cells has not changed since the prior sample.

Interesting, no matter which method he used. And something that's actually worth patenting and licensing the patent for.

Re:Kerr cell shutter? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47259425)

More likely, he's using an OEM CMOS sensor chip and building his own back-end electronics, so it is all pretty run-of-the-mill stuff. Lots of small camera vendors do that. I would be surprised if there is anything in there worth patenting.

Re:Kerr cell shutter? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47261535)

You guys are thinking way to complicated. This is a standard, off-the-shelf sensor with electronic shutter. The innovation here is the system integration that turns this sensor into a scientific "camcorder" at a reasonable price. This is achieved by accepting video compression artifacts in the recorded streams. Existing high speed cameras are expensive not because of the sensors they use, but because of the vast amounts of memory and off-chip bandwidth they need to store the video uncompressed.

Re:Kerr cell shutter? (1)

Em Adespoton (792954) | about 4 months ago | (#47274705)

You guys are thinking way to complicated. This is a standard, off-the-shelf sensor with electronic shutter. The innovation here is the system integration that turns this sensor into a scientific "camcorder" at a reasonable price. This is achieved by accepting video compression artifacts in the recorded streams. Existing high speed cameras are expensive not because of the sensors they use, but because of the vast amounts of memory and off-chip bandwidth they need to store the video uncompressed.

He could even be using slow cells, and taking advantage of the stroboscopic effect in software to approximate the actual potential any cell should have if its actual potential and those of nearby cells has not changed since the prior sample.

IOW, what I said, but without the fancy language :) My entire point was that he *could* be doing something fancy, but as we said, the sensors used aren't really what enables him to do this. It's the lossy method of dumping the data off-chip.

Completely off topic (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47258961)

I really hope Tim's middle initial is an E.

Flash, again? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47258421)

"You need to have the Adobe Flash Player to view this content."

Really? In 2014?

Re:Flash, again? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47258461)

Yes. It's 2014. Not 1994. Try to keep up. Or, keep fighting for other people's ideals. Either way don't whine about it. You probably don't like cookies either.

Re:Flash, again? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47258657)

You do realize that pretty much no sites that are mobile device (or vision impaired certified) etc. REQUIRE Flash anymore, right? HTML5 is 2014's video encapsulation method of choice, and for video where DRM isn't necessary, there's no reason not to serve up a pure MP4 stream.

Re:Flash, again? (2)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | about 4 months ago | (#47258765)

Hit the alternate link, or read the transcript. But yeah, I couldn't view the embedded link on my ipad, which is how I read slashdot half the time.

Re:Flash, again? (2)

Blaskowicz (634489) | about 4 months ago | (#47260035)

I happen to like flash technology. Hell, it's less CPU intensive than html5 + javascript crap or maybe that's because it supports a video codec much less CPU hungry than H264. Used as in the Pentium 1 and Cyrix days it's also a very good platorm for animated and optionally interactive vector graphics (similar to the good old Another World/Out of this World game). Animated PNG and animated SVG were a failure I think.

Open source / Free software world failed to make a good enough clone, except as a toy project to run antique flash objects stored in off-line folders.
It could have worked out better. Hell, a decade ago slashdot was littered with "warning! pdf link" and "pdf is evil".

A Dice Idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47258573)

This is only a dice idea. The video CDN clearly supports HTML5, and it even works with /. vids. Here is an example [slashdot.org] I've constructed with jsfiddle. May only work with firefox.

Re:A Dice Idea (2)

Roblimo (357) | about 4 months ago | (#47258921)

All the people who actually work on Slashdot agree with you. And we've been promised HTML5 "soon." Sigh.

"We will destroy him with patent litigation" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47258463)

His high priced competitiors will not just sit by and take it.

Porn Industry (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47258465)

Do you think they could afford this for the slow money shots? It's the only way to make the high speed camera industry profitable.

Where's the video link? (2)

timeOday (582209) | about 4 months ago | (#47258481)

This is a nice interview and all, but a story about a high-speed camera absolutely demands some cool high-speed footage of china shattering or a face getting punched or something.

Re:Where's the video link? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47259547)

Can we see this interview filmed at 700 fps/s please?

Re:Where's the video link? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47261643)

This is a nice interview and all, but a story about a high-speed camera absolutely demands some cool high-speed footage of china shattering or a face getting punched or something.

I vote for the face getting punched. Its always fun to watch the punch ripple across someones face as a small drops of spit fling out.

We shot a high-speed video version ... (1)

timothy (36799) | about 4 months ago | (#47266707)

But it took 27 hours to play back ;)

However, you can see a few examples of what it can shoot here:

http://edgertronic.com/videos/ [edgertronic.com]

The highest-speed (shootgun firing) is the lowest resoluton, because that's the trade-off. I am a sucker balloons-hit-sharp-objects videos, though, so I like the cactus one best.

Tim

Only 5000 bucks? (2)

MindPrison (864299) | about 4 months ago | (#47258497)

Woah, that's cheap! Can you feel the wind beneath your wings? That's the customers rushing towards wallmart to buy one right now.

I can remember a Casio camera that could take 1200 images per second in 2002, and it was a cheap consumer camera, here is the Wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C... [wikipedia.org]

Sure, it's not 18.000 FPS...but the price/fps ratio. meh...

Re:Only 5000 bucks? (2)

asmkm22 (1902712) | about 4 months ago | (#47258671)

1200 images per second at a resolution of 336x96... That was a low resolution even for 2002.

Re:Only 5000 bucks? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47259061)

Yep. Pretty useless for all but very very niche purposes.

Re:Only 5000 bucks? (1)

dj245 (732906) | about 4 months ago | (#47259513)

Yep. Pretty useless for all but very very niche purposes.

Do you have a use for 1200 images per second which is not a very niche purpose?

Re:Only 5000 bucks? (3, Insightful)

Splab (574204) | about 4 months ago | (#47260473)

"I went to see Professor Douglas Hartree, who had built the first differential analyzers in England and had more experience in using these very specialized computers than anyone else. He told me that, in his opinion, all the calculations that would ever be needed in this country could be done on the three digital computers which were then being builtâ"one in Cambridge, one in Teddington, and one in Manchester. No one else, he said, would ever need machines of their own, or would be able to afford to buy them."
-- Douglas Hartree

There are billions of smart people out there, just because you fail to see a purpose doesn't mean there isn't one, it just means you aren't the one making it rich in this niche.

Re: Only 5000 bucks? (1)

gordo3000 (785698) | about 4 months ago | (#47261575)

Golf swing analysis. Good players would love this to check ball impact angles if the resolution was high enough.

Re:Only 5000 bucks? (1)

augahyde (1016980) | about 4 months ago | (#47259745)

1800 fps is at 192x96 resolution according to http://edgertronic.com/camera/... [edgertronic.com] .

Re:Only 5000 bucks? (2)

Dishevel (1105119) | about 4 months ago | (#47263183)

You are off there by a bit. The run about 18,000 FPS at that resolution. They get 1850 FPS at 640x480.

Re:Only 5000 bucks? (1)

augahyde (1016980) | about 4 months ago | (#47266605)

Yes, I meant 18,000.

Re:Only 5000 bucks? (2)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | about 4 months ago | (#47258677)

According to the wikipedia page-- which doesn't appear to free from errors, Casio's high speed exlims date from 2008 (Pro EX-F1) and later. Moreover, the resolution at high speeds is significantly reduced-- 336*96 @ 1200 fps for one model, 224*64 @ 1000 fps for another.

This camera also degrades video: but manages 866*720@1000, 640*480 @1849, and for the gimickry obsessed, 192*96 @ 17791.

Re:Only 5000 bucks? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47258759)

The Casio camera had a low-cost sensor that could only do high-speed capture at very low resolutions (224x64 at 1,000 frame/s) with rolling shutter effect.

Any details on the camera? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47258517)

I don't care about the video that won't play in my browser; I don't care about his LinkedIn profile, nor the Wiki page for whom he named the camera after; nor do I care about Kickstarter nor SolidCon (whatever that is). I'm a camera guy, how about ANY details on the camera. What's the sensor? Electronic shutter? Monochrome or color? Bit depth? So I click through to the Kickstarter page, and there are some details. I'd still like to know the sensor. I can speculate, but I'm not overly impressed on the sensor nor price when I deal with better cameras out of Dalsa and the like.

Not exactly needed (1, Interesting)

Simonetta (207550) | about 4 months ago | (#47258669)

A 700 frame per second camera really isn't needed by very many people. It doesn't matter if a new design reduces its price by an order of magnitude.

What we need is the opposite: a very cheap camera with very high resolution and a very low price. Then we can put them on light poles and get good high-resolution courts-evidence-quality images of the people who are running out of nowhere to attack you, beat you senseless, and stealing your $500 bicycle when neighborhood is quite 100% gentrified yet.

At the present we have low-res video of "people" doing this, but they are rarely have enough resolution to positively identify the attackers.

Same with 'Flash mobs' that come into a store in groups of dozens, grab handfuls of stuff off the shelves, and just walk out in a large group.

Re:Not exactly needed (1)

asmkm22 (1902712) | about 4 months ago | (#47258745)

I guess it's a good thing this guy wasn't set out to solve your problem then. He identified a market (not yours) and went for it.

Re:Not exactly needed (1)

Bengie (1121981) | about 4 months ago | (#47258845)

At really high sampling rates, you can "see around corners" using math and looking at photons one at a time. I'm sure someone will think of of something cool to do with high video sampling some time in the future as better techniques and optics become cheap.

Re:Not exactly needed (1)

atomicdragon (619181) | about 4 months ago | (#47260263)

That requires gating the camera on the nanosecond time scale, which is many orders of magnitude away from something like this and a whole different technology. Most work with such cameras are limited to actually very slow frame rates (e.g. 60 Hz) but with a very fast shutter. The speed of such cameras is improving, and there is some tech coming out that allows multiple frames at nanosecond to picosecond separation, but it would still be a burst situation where you take a couple dozen images then have to wait milliseconds or longer to do it again. Neat videos of light propagation using such methods typically involve taking thousands of identical sequences and stitching them back together.

Re:Not exactly needed (1)

Splab (574204) | about 4 months ago | (#47260445)

Computers didn't start out in the GHz range you know...

Re:Not exactly needed (2)

GrahamCox (741991) | about 4 months ago | (#47258905)

Then we can put them on light poles and get good high-resolution courts-evidence-quality images of the people who are running out of nowhere to attack you, beat you senseless, and stealing your $500 bicycle when neighborhood is quite 100% gentrified yet.

Your "vision" of the future is one I find creepy and chilling. It's what's already happening, and on the face of it (your argument) seems reasonable. Until the wrong people are fingered and framed, the fact that you cannot move without your every step being filmed and tracked, you get a knock-on-the-door-in-the-night from the goon squad because you were caught on camera dropping litter. It's a very very slippery slope. Personally I'll take my chances with the muggers and bike-stealers (in real terms, crime is lower than it has ever been at any time in history per head of population), if it means that we don't build such a nightmare panopticon.

Re:Not exactly needed (0)

Required Snark (1702878) | about 4 months ago | (#47259311)

You're absolutely right. You should immediately stop whatever you are doing and develop that exact camera at a significantly lower price point then anything else out there using your vast knowledge of electronics and photography.

Or you could stop being an arm chair quarterback and STFU. Have you ever done anything vaguely like this? Have you ever done anything on your own initiative at all? Somehow I doubt it. You post here so you can pretend to be knowledgeable by denigrating people who are actually doing something.

Why don't you get your cheap shot ego fix somewhere else? You are the sludge that makes Slashdot a bore to read. Go away and leave us alone. We don't like you and we don't need you. Go away. Now.

Re:Not exactly needed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47261931)

hahaha calm down buddy, wow

Re:Not exactly needed (1)

SQLGuru (980662) | about 4 months ago | (#47259831)

I'd love a high-speed camera that is cheap so that I can analyze my bowling swing. Sure, I don't *need* 700fps, but this isn't always about *need*.

Re: Not exactly needed (2)

Roblimo (357) | about 4 months ago | (#47260117)

A bowling alley or instructor might be a valid customer for this camera. Too pricey for you or a dozen like you, but spread it out over hundreds of users, it might make sense. Or possibly set up a "sports motion analysis" business that can be at a bowling alley tonight, a golf course tomorrow, a baseball practice facility next week, and so on.

Re: Not exactly needed (1)

gordo3000 (785698) | about 4 months ago | (#47261563)

I can't believe the first comment realizing sports applications are awesome was bowling!! What about baseball and golf? Those are much higher speed motions where people already pay obscene amounts for high frame rate video to fix swing mechanics.

Re:Not exactly needed (1)

noshellswill (598066) | about 4 months ago | (#47259851)

Tek not required.  CC fans and fannies. Shoot-a-few smashmouths and flash-mobsters ...  pics of punks twitching blood in-the-gutter will have a sobering effect. 

Re:Not exactly needed (1)

Thanshin (1188877) | about 4 months ago | (#47260793)

You really believe those two problems would be solved by better cameras?

Re:Not exactly needed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47260977)

Oh yeah, because the solution to crime and poverty is putting more high tech cameras instead of distributing better wealth so we could all live happy without stealing. Excellent logic man. Are you perhaps a politician?

Re:Not exactly needed (1)

Dishevel (1105119) | about 4 months ago | (#47263317)

So stop trying to catch and jail the people "solving" crime and poverty by "redistributing" wealth.

Contrary to shallow thinkers popular belief, wealth is something that can be created. If you want more people to have more money then what you need to do is create wealth. Making people not want to create it by calling them names and stealing their shit really helps much less than you think it does.

Re:Not exactly needed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47262609)

I'm sorry you have trouble with "people" coming back into your recently gentrified neighborhood. Maybe you should walk around with a concealed handgun and provoke a fight with one of these "people", then you could legally kill one and feel all high and mighty about it. Just one less "people" to worry about.

Re:Not exactly needed (1)

NIK282000 (737852) | about 4 months ago | (#47263439)

This is not a security camera, this is a diagnostic tool, a high speed camera is the micrometer of video analysis, when you need to trouble shoot a high speed, complicated process this is the only way. This camera gives decent performance at an order of magnitude cheaper than all of it's competitors. Having a double digit resolution at 18,000fps sounds crappy but when you have a 3cm x 5cm area of interest it only takes a few more seconds of setup to make sure you get the data you need. High speed cameras are to security cameras what an oscilloscope is to a multi-meter, they are for completely different jobs.

Call me Robert (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47258897)

"Ok, I want everyone to call me Dr. Mr. Tim Lord Esq. now! ...Why are you laughing?! I'm not Timothy!! I'm a MAN now!!"

Re:Call me Robert (1)

timothy (36799) | about 4 months ago | (#47266971)

Says Wikipedia:

"The title Esquire is not allocated by the law of any state to any profession, class, or station in society. Because it is commonly employed by lawyers, however, use by an unlicensed person may be evidence of the unauthorized practice of law, which can subject a person to sanctions by a state bar association and is a crime in all fifty states. The concern is that by appending "Esq." to his or her name, a person may create a false perception of acting in the capacity of a lawyer, which might induce a layman to consider the person to be an attorney and to create an attorney-client relationship."

So, I shouldn't use Esq -- no bar exam, am nobody's attorney. But since it's a Juris Doctor, I guess could say Dr, if you want, and throw in the Mr, too, for fun ... Sure, why not?

My German's not good enough to try for Doktor Doktor, though.

High speed video? (1)

Trogre (513942) | about 4 months ago | (#47260493)

Hell, I'd settle for standard 60fps over the crappy juddery 30fps all the consumer cameras seem to have today.

You know, like we had ten years ago but with higher resolution and not interlaced.

Like you could tell the difference between 60fps (3, Funny)

ayesnymous (3665205) | about 4 months ago | (#47260655)

and 700-18000 fps. Plus some people even get motion sickness from 120 Hz TVs. Wonder how they'd fare watching a 700 fps video?

Re:Like you could tell the difference between 60fp (2)

PhunkySchtuff (208108) | about 4 months ago | (#47261139)

Can't tell if serious or trolling.

These cameras are used for slowing things down. You shoot at, say, 600 frames per second and then you can slow it down by 20 times to 30 fps. Watching the video at 30 fps then shows a very smooth slow-motion view of what's happening 20 times faster. One of the examples he gave was in process manufacturing - if you have an assembly line that's jamming at a point, and you can't see why as it's all happening too quickly, shoot it at a high frame rate, slow it down and go over it frame by frame if you need to. Either that or make videos of stuff breaking, getting shot or having water splashed on it and put it on youtube. People love seeing that stuff in slow motion.

He is not in sales (1)

kqc7011 (525426) | about 4 months ago | (#47261289)

You can tell that he is not is sales as his finger covered the name on the camera. If he would have moved his fingers the name would have been visible to everyone viewing the video. Even the newest "booth babes" know how to present. Still a neat camera though.

Re:He is not in sales (1)

Dishevel (1105119) | about 4 months ago | (#47263355)

Well luckily he does have some skills and ambition and does not have to count on his income from his "both babe" duties. Let the no talent pseudo whores do what they are good at.

Coming in 2015 .. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47263265)

slow motion creeper vids

I liked the presentation. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47264529)

I liked the presentation. It was technical enough to be interesting without going way over my head.He also came across the right way. Not too smooth and slick. Not like a salesman. But like an enthusiast that is talking about a product that he really likes.

Re:I liked the presentation. (1)

timothy (36799) | about 4 months ago | (#47266993)

And as the creator! :) As someone said above, No, he's not in sales, except enough to demo the camera.

Had a really ineresting talk with him afterward, too, over sandwiches, about optics, refresh rates, human eye / brain interactions, etc. I also think that "Matter" is a pretty cool last name to have at a conference called "Solid."

How could you submit a story like this (1)

PJ6 (1151747) | about 4 months ago | (#47278405)

with video and not include an example [youtube.com] of the camera's output?

Seriously, was it just too difficult?

Maybe I'm just in a bad mood, but it pissed me off that the whole video was just some dude talking.

If you're going to be that lazy just give us a transcript.
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