Light Field Imaging

Project completed 2015. 

Professor Kai Bongs, School of Physics
Mr Alastair Denniston, Institute of Immunology and Immunotherapy
Dr Iain Styles, School of Computer Science
Professor Ela Claridge, School of Computer Science

Light field (or plenoptic) imaging is a technique which allows the capture of the 3-dimensional information in a scene using a single camera in a single exposure. This is done by adding an array of microlenses to a conventional camera such that it allows information about the angles of light rays as well as their intensity and position to be recorded. This information can be computationally post-processed to allow digital refocussing or camera repositioning. Such cameras have recently become commercially available and are mainly used in consumer photographic applications, and they have much unexplored potential as tools for biomedical research. This project will develop plenoptic imaging technology for retinal imaging, where the ability to obtain 3D information about the anterior surface of the retina has potentially important benefits for the diagnosis of retinal diseases such as glaucoma and macular degeneration.

A preliminary analysis has shown that the commercially available lenses do not have the properties that would be required to allow for the development of an attachment for commercial retinal cameras, which is the ultimate goal of this work. The initial stages of this project willtherefore focus on the development of new low-cost techniques for the construction of customised microlens arrays with properties tuned for the application, as determined by simulation work being developed in a parallel project. Once the optimal configuration has been determined, we will construct a prototype retinal imaging system which will be evaluated in collaboration with clinicians at University Hospital Birmingham.