1 million frames per second video camera developed

Japanese, German and Dutch engineers have designed the world's fastest digital video camera, capable of recording at up to 1 million frames per second, according to a statement from a group of researchers released on Thursday.

The camera uses a special CCD (charge-coupled device) to capture up to 103 frames recorded at 1 million frames per second. Consumer digital video cameras record at up to 30 frames per second.

Kinki University in Japan led the research, sponsored by the Promotion and Mutual Aid Corporation for Private Schools of Japan, an organization that belongs to Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. The university worked with component manufacturers Shimazu Corp. in Japan, Koninklijke Philips Electronic NV in the Netherlands, and others.

Current digital video recording technologies capture images one frame at a time with a CCD, and then transmit the image to a storage device. This process, however, consumes time.

The new camera uses an in-situ storage image sensor (ISIS), a CCD module in which each pixel has 103 memories that continuously record image data within the module, instead of outputting the image data while shooting, Shimazu said in a statement.

When shooting is done, the CCD outputs the last 103 frames it has recorded. These can be replayed at 10 frames per second for 10.3 seconds.

The designers of the ISIS module got around another major problem of high-speed recording, the need for plenty of light, by making the light-sensitive areas 10 times larger than on normal CCDs, the statement said.

The group hopes this video camera to be used for recording images of laser beams in industrial and medical research; automobile crash tests for safety research; and the mechanism of automobile and rocket engines for new development research.

Shimazu, in Kyoto, Japan, can be contacted at +81-75-823-1111 or http://www.shimadzu.co.jp/. Kinki University's Science and Engineering Department's Web site is http://ccpc01.cc.kindai.ac.jp/sci/emain.htm.

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