By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Durham, N.C. — Aqueti, a startup company looking to commercialize gigapixel photographic technology developed at Duke University, said Monday it will look to gain funding from the Kickstarter site to help evangelize its Aware gigapixel digital cameras.
The campaign, which began Monday and runs through June 19, is looking to raise at least $25,000 to tour the camera around North Carolina for three weeks.
Gigapixel imaging technology is being developed for use in next-generation cameras to capture large panoramic images with multi-angle perspectives and massive amounts of high-resolution detail.
One gigapixel application is for high-level video surveillance, including use in military Drone aircraft to resolve detailed images from great distances.
The “first generation” of Aqueti’s Aware cameras have been deployed by the U.S. Navy for maritime port surveillance, and the new company considers video surveillance to be a core application and development focus.
The Aware gigapixel platform began as a Duke University research project, and was spun off into the Aqueti startup company after passing initial field trials and raising a round of DARPA funding.
Aqueti said it is now looking to “change the concept of a panoramic camera” by capturing a single moment instantly with 10 times the detail of 20/20 vision, the company said.
Aware cameras are made up of hundreds of small cameras that capture images with one large glass ball lens.
High-speed electronics stitch the images together, resulting in one image with more than 1 billion pixels (1 gigapixel), about 40 times bigger than SLR images and 125 times bigger than a cellphone image.
One of the limitations of gigapixel technology has been very slow frame rates, but Aqueti claimed to have developed technology to produce a 600 times faster frame rate using a completely different approach to gigapixel technology.
“Aqueti’s launch efforts focus on helping our community experience what is truly revolutionary about the Aware camera,” said Dr. David Brady, CEO of Aqueti. “Most surprising is how it changes the relationship between the photo and its viewer, with endless options of unique perspectives and instant access to so much more than the eye can capture alone.”
“Aqueti is returning what Henri Cartier-Bresson called the ‘decisive moment’ to gigapixel photography,” said Greg Downing, co-founder of creative images company XRez Studio. “This advancement will allow us, for the first time, to combine life's fleeting moments with the extreme detail of gigapixel photography, significantly impacting what we use gigapixel photography for.”
Aqueti plans to use the money it gains from Kickstarter to take the Aware camera on the road to capture a collection of panoramic moments.
The tour will consist of three regions across North Carolina, from the mountains of Asheville to the Piedmont in Durham and the ocean near Wilmington, the company said.
At each region, the company will host a technology demonstration to allow enthusiasts to experience the camera hands-on, and will have multiple photo shoots throughout each region.
Backers of the trip will have a wide choice of gifts for their support, ranging from t-shirts to private receptions and prints, as well as exclusive access to all images made during the tour.
Three galas will be held at the tour’s end, hosting the trip’s print images in the first-ever panoramic exhibition of Aware photographs, and premiering a video made during the tour, Aqueti said.
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