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HRSC Camera
HRSC Camera with Nikon lens and interface cable

The HRSC camera was one of the more interesting camera designs that we have done. A key element of the design was a CMOS image sensor with a 25M Pixel resolution that was capable of very fast frame rates. Full frame images can be captured at 53 fps with smaller ROI windowed images up to several thousand fps achievable.

Pixel data rates from this camera are in excess of 1.3G Pixels/sec to support the high frame rates. In order to accomplish this, the sensor interface is composed of 32 separate pixel ports. Each of the pixel ports runs at a 620Mbps data rate and the camera electronics handles all of the synchronization, error checking, and image formatting operations at full speed. To handle the high bandwidth data requirements of the camera, the host computer interface utilized a PCIe over cable interface technology. The full bandwidth of the image sensor was supported by operating the PCIe interface at Gen 2.0 speeds in a x8 lane configuration.

HRSC Camera with view of image sensor from the front of the camera.

A novel feature of the HRSC camera included the ability to program the characteristics of a sequence of images that the camera would take. Camera parameters such as ROI window size, exposure time, and gain settings can be defined. These parameters can be programmed via commands uploaded from the host computer controlling the camera. Hundreds or even thousands of these commands could be chained into a longer program which would then be executed autonomously by the camera. The ability to synchronize individual program instructions with an external camera hardware trigger signal provides for a very flexible solution for various imaging applications. Sequencer instructions can also be stored in non-volatile memory on the camera which allows the camera to come up in any particular configuration automatically upon power-up.

HRSC Image sensor circuit card assembly.
Image Processor Board Power Supply Board

The mechanical package of the HRSC camera was designed to allow for all components to be cooled via conduction. All heat generating semiconductors are in thermal contact with raised features machined into the aluminum enclosure sections that are used to mount the circuit card assemblies. A thermal dam was used to isolate the warmer components of the image processor board from that of the image sensor assembly. The camera has an operational temperature range exceeding +75 C.

View of one section of the mechanical enclosure for the HRSC camera.



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