Creating the perfect image

Women in security technology profile: Ellen Cargill, CTO, Scallop Imaging
Wednesday, January 28, 2015

BOSTON—She’s been creating imaging systems for more than 25 years, but Scallop Imaging CTO Ellen Cargill says doing this kind of work in the security field is different.

Security video “needs to run flawlessly 24-7. The reliability [requirement in security] is very different from other fields,” Cargill told Security Systems News.

“In security, imaging is information, and you want to maximize the information contained in the images,” she said. “That is different.”

“You have to make sure everything is very rugged, and you need to be sensitive to the needs of users as well as those who are setting up and installing the cameras,” Cargill explained. It needs to be “simple and straightforward, something you can get going without having to read an instruction manual.”

Cargill leads all technology and product development at Scallop Imaging, a company that’s undergone a rebirth of sorts in the past two years. CEO Olaf Krohg and a group of investors purchased the assets of Scallop Imaging from Tenebraex, an optical technology company, about a year ago.

Scallop Imaging offers digital and analog cameras that “stitch together” images from multiple sensors to form a high resolution, 180-degree-or-larger view (non fisheye) on a single video frame.

Cargill has a BS in physics from Bridgewater State University. She put herself through undergraduate school working second-shift as an X-ray technician. She won a teaching research assistantship at the University of Arizona, where she earned a PhD in optical science and today holds 16 U.S. patents and patents pending.

Before joining Scallop Imaging, Cargill created wearable video display glasses at a company called MyVu.

Previously, she spent several years at Flextronic, where she developed the “first cellphone camera modules … We really experimented with miniaturization. It was a wild ride. We went from [zero to producing] 150 million units a year in two years.”

Cargill also spent 12 years at Polaroid serving as vice president of Consumer Hardware Development, where she led the development of camera and instant printer products. 

Cargill is excited about Scallop’s plans to “expand the product and improve the overall performance by making it more flexible.”

To do that “it’s vital to have unfiltered contact with the customers,” something Cargill has sought out throughout her career.

“A new line of products will be delivered early this year. We’ll expand the range of products, have higher performance cameras, cameras for applications where it’s a moving platform,” Cargill said.

“I love product development,” Cargill said. “It’s so satisfying to see a project [progress] from an idea to where someone is building it. It doesn’t get any better than that.”

This story is the first profile in a new Security Systems News series called “Women in Security Technology.” Know a woman who works in a technical role in the security industry who would be perfect for this series? Contact Martha Entwistle,