Scallop's 360 Digital Window

Sunday, February 1, 2009

BOSTON--There’s a new entrant in the 180-/360-degree imaging market, pitching PoE compatibility, H.264 compression, seven megapixels and no distortion of the resultant image. In December, Scallop Imaging, a division of Tenebraex, released the Digital Window, which stitches together images from five cameras molded into one unit to get the 180-degree image - you can pair them for 360 degrees.

Scallop director of product development Ellen Cargill comes from the cell phone camera industry and said this kind of solution only recently became practical thanks to “the miniature cameras that the cell phone industry spawned.”

Tenebraex has a history working with the U.S. military on anti-reflective technology. When asked to create an anti-reflective window for a Bradley Fighting Vehicle, so that soldiers could be better aware of their surroundings, Tenebraex instead developed the Digital Window to “create a seamless window on the world electronically,” said Cargill.

The software in the unit compiles the images from the five cameras and sends back two streams: one that shows the whole scene in lower resolution, another showing you the higher resolution, zoomed-in image of the part of the scene you’d like to focus on. “We’re trying to achieve the best picture possible,” said Cargill, “while being respectful of the bandwidth realities of the system ... While we have a seven megapixel head, you’re not jamming it all down the pipe at the same time.”

The product will be available to OEM partners in “a few months,” she said, and the company is also looking to release a direct-to-consumer model by the end of 2009. The company will begin developing interoperability partnerships with major software vendors, and has already been working with systems integrators in fine-tuning its prototypes.

“We’re pretty focused on the security industry,” Cargill said. “Our product road map involves architectures that we hope will eventually allow an electronic solution to replace all of today’s PTZ cameras.”