jehan60188 writes about a research project (involving Steve Mann) that combines a welding helmet and realtime HDR image processing to give welders a clear view of what they're working on. From the article: "In this demonstration, we present a specialized version of HDR imaging (use of multiple differently exposed input images for each extended-range output image), adapted for use in electric arc welding, which also shows promise as a general-purpose seeing aid. TIG welding, in particular, presents an extremely high dynamic range scene (higher than most other welding processes). Since TIG welding requires keen eyesight and exact hand-to-eye coordination (i.e. more skill and more visual acuity than most other welding processes), being able to see in such extreme dynamic range is beneficial to welders and welding inspectors. ... We present HDRchitecture as either a fixed camera system (e.g. for use on a tripod), or as a stereo EyeTap cybernetic welding helmet that records and streams live video from a welding booth to students or observers, nearby or remote. By capturing over a dynamic range of more than a million to one, we can see details that cannot be seen by the human eye or any currently existing commercially available cameras. We also present a highly parallelizable and computationally efficient HDR reconstruction and tonemapping algorithm for extreme dynamic range scene. In comparison to most of the existing HDR work, our system can run in real-time, and requires no user intervention such as parameters fine tuning. ... Our algorithm runs at an interactive frame rate (30 fps) and also enables stereoscopic vision. Additionally, a hardware implementation, which uses FPGAs, will be presented. The initial hardware configuration comprises an Atlys circuitboard manufactured by Digilent Inc., which is small enough to fit inside a large shirt pocket. The circuit board includes two HDMI camera inputs, one being used for the left eye, and the other for the right eye, as well as HDMI outputs fed back to the left and right eyes, after processing of the video signals. The circuit board facilitates processing by way of a Xilinx Spartan 6, model LX45 FPGA." The demonstration video is pretty cool, and you can read about the FPGA and details of the HDR algorithm in the research paper.
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