Media Releases

OMNI-focus video camera to revolutionize industry

May 4, 2010

TORONTO, ON – Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to, a world-lead­ing research uni­ver­si­ty, announces a break­through devel­op­ment in video cam­era design. The Omni-focus Video Cam­era, based on an entire­ly new dis­tance-map­ping prin­ci­ple, deliv­ers auto­mat­ic real-time focus of both near and far field images, simul­ta­ne­ous­ly, in high res­o­lu­tion. This unprece­dent­ed capa­bil­i­ty can be broad­ly applied in indus­try, includ­ing man­u­fac­tur­ing, med­i­cine, defense, secu­ri­ty — and for the con­sumer mar­ket. 

Inven­tor and prin­ci­pal inves­ti­ga­tor of the Omni-focus video cam­era, Pro­fes­sor Kei­go Iizu­ka of The Edward S. Rogers Sr. Depart­ment of Elec­tri­cal and Com­put­er Engi­neer­ing, explains that, “the inten­si­ty of a point source decays with the inverse square of the dis­tance of prop­a­ga­tion. This vari­a­tion with dis­tance has proven to be large enough to pro­vide depth map­ping with high res­o­lu­tion. What’s more, by using two point sources at dif­fer­ent loca­tions, the dis­tance of the object can be deter­mined with­out the influ­ence of its sur­face tex­ture.” This prin­ci­ple led Pro­fes­sor Iizu­ka to invent a nov­el dis­tance-map­ping cam­era, the Diver­gence-ratio Axi-vision Cam­era, abbre­vi­at­ed “Div­cam,” which is a key com­po­nent of the new Omni-focus Video Cam­era. 

The Omni-focus Video Cam­era is pro­duced in col­lab­o­ra­tion with con­sult­ing inves­ti­ga­tor Dr. David Wilkes, pres­i­dent of Wilkes Asso­ciates, a Cana­di­an high-tech prod­uct devel­op­ment com­pa­ny. It con­tains an array of col­or video cam­eras, each focused at a dif­fer­ent dis­tance, and an inte­grat­ed Div­cam. The Div­cam maps dis­tance infor­ma­tion for every pix­el in the scene in real time. A soft­ware-based pix­el cor­re­spon­dence util­i­ty, using pri­or intel­lec­tu­al prop­er­ty invent­ed by Dr. Wilkes, then uses the dis­tance infor­ma­tion to select indi­vid­ual pix­els from the ensem­ble of out­puts of the col­or video cam­eras, and gen­er­ates the final “omni-focused” sin­gle-video image. 

“The Omni-focus Video Camera’s unique abil­i­ty to achieve simul­ta­ne­ous focus of all of the objects in a scene, near or far, mul­ti­ple or sin­gle, with­out the usu­al phys­i­cal move­ment of the camera’s optics, rep­re­sents a true advance­ment that is fur­ther dis­tin­guished in terms of high-res­o­lu­tion, dis­tance map­ping, real-time oper­a­tion, sim­plic­i­ty, com­pact­ness, light­weight porta­bil­i­ty and a pro­ject­ed low man­u­fac­tur­ing cost,” says Dr. Wilkes.  

The cam­era is still in the research phase. But it’s not dif­fi­cult to imag­ine how far-reach­ing an impact the Omni-focus Video Cam­era could have on sev­er­al indus­tries. As for the future direc­tion of his research, Pro­fes­sor Iizu­ka sees the fol­low­ing pos­si­bil­i­ties: 

(1) Appli­ca­tion of the Omni-focus Video Cam­era to TV stu­dio cam­eras. Con­sid­er the exam­ple of a musi­cal con­cert being tele­vised by a major net­work. Even though the singer is in sharp focus, band mem­bers in the back­ground, are invari­ably out of focus. Con­ven­tion­al video cam­eras are unable to focus simul­ta­ne­ous­ly on both the singer and band mem­bers in the back­ground. The Omni-focus Video Cam­era removes this lim­i­ta­tion to deliv­er high­er-qual­i­ty video images and improved qual­i­ty of expe­ri­ence to poten­tial­ly mil­lions of TV view­ers, world­wide. 

(2) Appli­ca­tion of the Omni-focus Video Cam­era to med­i­cine. Says Pro­fes­sor Iizu­ka, “I’d like to apply the prin­ci­ple of the Omni-focus Video Cam­era to the design of a laparo­scope. It would help doc­tors at the oper­at­ing table, if they can see the entire view with­out touch­ing optics of the laparo­scope, espe­cial­ly if deal­ing with a large lesion.” 


The Fac­ul­ty of Applied Sci­ence and Engi­neer­ing at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to ranks first in Cana­da, fifth in North Amer­i­ca, and eighth in the world accord­ing to the Times High­er Edu­ca­tion-QS and U.S. News and World Report’s World Uni­ver­si­ty Rank­ings. The Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to has assem­bled one of the strongest research and teach­ing fac­ul­ties in North Amer­i­ca, pre­sent­ing top stu­dents at all lev­els with an intel­lec­tu­al envi­ron­ment unmatched in breadth and depth on any oth­er Cana­di­an cam­pus. This research was fund­ed by Nat­ur­al Sci­ences and Engi­neer­ing Research Coun­cil of Cana­da (NSERC). 

Images are avail­able as jpegs in a zip file at:

For more infor­ma­tion, please con­tact:

Pro­fes­sor Kei­go Iizu­ka

Mario Pidut­ti
Fac­ul­ty of Applied Sci­ence and Engi­neer­ing
Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to