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Important Announcement. Lab this week Not in the usual room Will meet in Friend 017. Digital Cameras. Engineering Math Physics (EMP) Jennifer Rexford Image Transmission Over Wireless Networks. Wireless networks Wireless technology

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Important announcement l.jpg
Important Announcement

  • Lab this week

    • Not in the usual room

    • Will meet in Friend 017

Digital cameras l.jpg

Digital Cameras

Engineering Math Physics (EMP)

Jennifer Rexford

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Image Transmission Over Wireless Networks

  • Wireless networks

    • Wireless technology

    • Acoustic waves and electrical signals

    • Radios

  • Image capture and compression

    • Inner-workings of a digital camera

    • Manipulating & transforming a matrix of pixels

    • Implementing a variant of JPEG compression

  • Video over wireless networks

    • Video compression and quality

    • Transmitting video over wireless

    • Controlling a car over a radio link

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Traditional Photography

  • A chemical process, little changed from 1826

  • Taken in France on a pewter plate

  • … with 8-hour exposure

The world's first photograph

Image formation l.jpg
Image Formation

Digital Camera



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Image Formation in a Pinhole Camera

  • Light enters a darkened chamber through pinhole opening and forms an image on the further surface

Aperture l.jpg

  • Hole or opening where light enters

    • Or, the diameter of that hole or opening

  • Pupil of the human eye

    • Bright light: 1.5 mm diameter

    • Average light: 3-4 mm diameter

    • Dim light: 8 mm diameter

  • Camera

    • Wider aperture admits more light

    • Though leads to blurriness in theobjects away from point of focus

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Shutter Speed

  • Time for light to enter camera

    • Longer times lead to more light

    • … though blurs moving subjects

  • Exposure

    • Total light entering the camera

    • Depends on aperture and shutter speed

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Digital Photography

  • Digital photography is an electronic process

  • Only widely available in the last ten years

  • Digital cameras now surpass film cameras in sales

  • Polaroid closed its film plants…

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Image Formation in a Digital Camera



+ + + + + +


A sensor converts one

kind of energy to another

  • Array of sensors

    • Light-sensitive diodes convert photons to electrons

    • Buckets that collect charge in proportion to light

    • Each bucket corresponds to a picture element (pixel)

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CCD: Charge Coupled Device

CCD sensor

  • Common sensor array used in digital cameras

    • Each capacitor accumulates charge in response to light

  • Responds to about 70% of the incident light

    • In contrast, photographic film captures only about 2%

  • Also widely used in astronomy telescopes

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Sensor Array: Image Sampling

Pixel (Picture Element): single point in a graphic image

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Sensor Array: Reading Out the Pixels

  • Transfer the charge from one row to the next

  • Transfer charge in the serial register one cell at a time

  • Perform digital to analog conversion one cell at a time

  • Store digital representation

Digital-to-analog conversion

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More Pixels Mean More Detail

1280 x 960

1600 x 1400

640 x 480

Slide16 l.jpg

The 2272 x 1704hand

The 320 x 240hand

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Representing Color

  • Light receptors in the human eye

    • Rods: sensitive in low light, mostly at periphery of eye

    • Cones: only at higher light levels, provide color vision

    • Different types of cones for red, green, and blue

  • RGB color model

    • A color is some combination of red, green, and blue

    • Intensity value for each color

      • 0 for no intensity

      • 1 for high intensity

    • Examples

      • Red: 1, 0, 0

      • Green: 0, 1, 0

      • Yellow: 1, 1, 0

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Representing Image as a 3D Matrix

  • In the lab this week…

    • Matlab experiments with digital images

  • Matrix storing color intensities per pixel

    • Row: from top to bottom

    • Column: from left to right

    • Color: red, green, blue

  • Examples

    • M(3,2,1): third row, second column, red intensity

    • M(4,3,2): fourth row, third column, green intensity






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Limited Granularity of Color

  • Three intensities, one per color

    • Any value between 0 and 1

  • Storing all possible values take a lot of bits

    • E.g., storing 0.368491029692069439604504560106

    • Can a person really differentiate from 0.36849?

  • Limiting the number of intensity settings

    • Eight bits for each color

    • From 00000000 to 11111111

    • With 28 = 256 values

  • Leading to 24 bits per pixel

    • Red: 255, 0, 0

    • Green: 0, 255, 0

    • Yellow: 255, 255, 0

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Number of Bits Per Pixel

  • Number of bits per pixel

    • More bits can represent a wider range of colors

    • 24 bits can capture 224 = 16,777,216 colors

    • Most humans can distinguish around 10 million colors

8 bits / pixel / color

4 bits / pixel / color

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Separate Sensors Per Color

  • Expensive cameras

    • A prism to split the light into three colors

    • Three CCD arrays, one per RGB color

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Practical Color Sensing: Bayer Grid

  • Place a small color filter over each sensor

  • Each cell captures intensity of a single color

  • More green pixels, since human eye is better at resolving green

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Practical Color Sensing: Interpolating

  • Challenge: inferring what we can’t see

    • Estimating pixels we do not know

  • Solution: estimate based on neighboring pixels

    • E.g., red for non-red cell averaged from red neighbors

    • E.g., blue for non-blue cell averaged from blue neighbors

Estimate “R” and “B” at the “G” cells from neighboring values

Interpolation l.jpg

  • Examples of interpolation

  • Accuracy of interpolation

    • Good in low-contrast areas (neighbors mostly the same)

    • Poor with sharp edges (e.g., text)







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Are More Pixels Always Better?

  • Generally more is better

    • Better resolution of the picture

    • Though at some point humans can’t tell the difference

  • But, other factors matter as well

    • Sensor size

    • Lens quality

    • Whether Bayer grid is used

  • Problem with too many pixels

    • Very small sensors catch fewer photons

    • Much higher signal-to-noise ratio

  • Plus, more pixels means more storage…

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Digital Images Require a Lot of Storage

  • Three dimensional object

    • Width (e.g., 640 pixels)

    • Height (e.g., 480 pixels)

    • Bits per pixel (e.g., 24-bit color)

  • Storage is the product

    • Pixel width * pixel height * bits/pixel

    • Divided by 8 to convert from bits to bytes

  • Example sizes

    • 640 x 480: 1 Megabyte

    • 800 x 600: 1.5 Megabytes

    • 1600 x 1200: 6 Megabytes

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  • Benefits of reducing the size

    • Consume less storage space and network bandwidth

    • Reduce the time to load, store, and transmit the image

  • Redundancy in the image

    • Neighboring pixels often the same, or at least similar

    • E.g., the blue sky

  • Human perception factors

    • Human eye is not sensitive to high frequencies

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Compression Pipeline

Sender and receiver must agree

Sender/writer compresses the raw data

Receiver/reader un-compresses the compressed data

Example: digital photography






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Two Kinds of Compression


Only exploits redundancy in the data

So, the data can be reconstructed exactly

Necessary for most text documents (e.g., legal documents, computer programs, and books)


Exploits both data redundancy and human perception

So, some of the information is lost forever

Acceptable for digital audio, images, and video


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Lossless: Huffman Encoding

Normal encoding of text

Fixed number of bits for each character

ASCII with seven bits for each character

Allows representation of 27=128 characters

Use 97 for ‘a’, 98 for ‘b’, …, 122 for ‘z’

But, some characters occur more often than others

Letter ‘a’ occurs much more often than ‘x’

Idea: assign fewer bits to more-popular symbols

Encode ‘a’ as “000”

Encode ‘x’ as “11010111”


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Lossless: Huffman Encoding

  • Challenge: generating an efficient encoding

    • Smaller codes for popular characters

    • Longer codes for unpopular characters

English Text: frequency distribution

Morse code


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Lossless: Run-Length Encoding

Sometimes the same symbol repeats

Such as “eeeeeee” or “eeeeetnnnnnn”

That is, a run of “e” symbols or a run of “n” symbols

Idea: capture the symbol only once

Count the number of times the symbol occurs

Record the symbol and the number of occurrences


So, “eeeeeee” becomes “@e7”

So, “eeeeetnnnnnn” becomes “@e5t@n6”

Useful for fax machines

Lots of white, separate by occasional black


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Joint Photographic Experts Group

  • Starts with an array of pixels in RGB format

    • With one number per pixel for each of the three colors

    • And outputs a smaller file with some loss in quality

  • Exploits both redundancy and human perception

    • Transforms data to identify parts that humans notice less

    • More about transforming the data in Wednesday’s class

Uncompressed: 167 KB

Good quality: 46 KB

Poor quality: 9 KB

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Joint Photographic Experts Group (JPEG)

108 KB

34 KB

Lossy compression

8 KB


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New Era of Computational Photography

  • Beyond manual editing of photographs

    • E.g., to crop, lighten/darken, sharpen edges, etc.

  • Post-processing of a single photography

    • De-blur photos marred by camera shake

    • Changing the depth of field or vantage point

  • Combining multiple pictures

    • Creating three-dimensional representations

    • Stitching together photos for a larger view

    • Creating a higher-resolution picture of a single scene

  • <Insert your idea here>

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  • Conversion of information

    • Light (photons) and a optical lens

    • Charge (electrons) and electronic devices

    • Bits (0s and 1s) and a digital computer

  • Combines many disciplines

    • Physics: lenses and light

    • Electrical engineering: charge coupled device

    • Computer science: manipulating digital representations

    • Mathematics: compression algorithms

    • Psychology/biology: human perception

  • Next class: compression algorithms

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Important Announcement

  • Lab this week

    • Not in the usual room

    • Will meet in Friend 017