Title:
Interconnected Camera System With Insertion Cards
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An interconnected camera system includes a number of cameras interconnected via a data communications protocol. Each camera has an image sensor configured to capture an image. A card is configured to be inserted into each camera. The card has encoded thereon various instructions for the manipulation of the captured image. A processor is configured to manipulate the captured image in accordance with the encoded instructions.



Inventors:
Silverbrook, Kia (Balmain, AU)
Lapstun, Paul (Balmain, AU)
Application Number:
11/853021
Publication Date:
12/27/2007
Filing Date:
09/11/2007
Assignee:
Silverbrook Research Pty Ltd
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
348/E5.048, 348/E5.051, 348/E5.043
International Classes:
H04N5/262; B41J3/42; B41J3/44; H04N1/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
PRABHAKHER, PRITHAM DAVID
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
SILVERBROOK RESEARCH PTY LTD (393 DARLING STREET, BALMAIN, 2041, AU)
Claims:
1. An interconnected camera system comprising: a number of cameras interconnected via a data communications protocol, each camera comprising an image sensor configured to capture an image; a card configured to be inserted into the camera , the card carrying encoded instructions for the manipulation of the captured image; and a processor configured to manipulate the captured image in accordance with the encoded instructions.

2. An interconnected camera system as claimed in claim 1, in which the cameras are interconnected with two connectors on each camera so that a plurality of the cameras can be interconnected in series to provide a cascading of imaging effects.

3. An interconnected camera system as claimed in claim 2, wherein each connector is a USB connector.

4. An interconnected camera system as claimed in claim 2, wherein each card has an image manipulation program stored thereon.

5. An interconnected camera system as claimed in claim 2, wherein each card has instructions for utilization in a network environment stored thereon.

6. An interconnected camera system as claimed in claim 2, in which each camera has a printer and is configured to print out its own manipulated image in addition to forwarding the image to the next camera in the series.

7. An interconnected camera system as claimed in claim 2, wherein each camera is configured so that splitting of paths can be arranged whereby one camera outputs to two different downstream cameras.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCES TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This Application is a Continuation of U.S. Ser. No. 10/642,331 filed on Aug. 18, 2003, which is a Divisional Application of U.S. Ser. No. 09/112,757 filed on Jul. 10, 1998, now Issued U.S. Pat. No. 6,624,848 all of which are herein incorporated by reference.

The following Australian provisional patent applications are hereby incorporated by cross-reference. For the purposes of location and identification, U.S. patent applications identified by their U.S. patent application serial numbers (U.S. Ser. No.) are listed alongside the Australian applications from which the U.S. patent applications claim the right of priority.

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STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT

Not applicable.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a data processing method and apparatus and, in particular, discloses a Multi Artcam System.

The present invention further relates to the field of image processing and to user interface mechanisms for performing image processing.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Recently, in Australia Provisional Patent Specification entitled “Image Processing Method and Apparatus (Art01)” filed concurrently by the present applicant, a system has been proposed known colloquially as “Artcam” which is a digital camera having an integral printer for printing out sensed images in addition to manipulations of the sensed image which are manipulated as a result of the insertion of a “Artcard” having manipulation instructions thereon into the camera.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It is an object of the present invention to provide for a multi effect system to provide enhanced image effects.

In accordance with a first aspect of the present invention, there is provided a camera for creating and displaying a manipulated image, the camera comprising:

(a) image capture means configured to capture a real image and convert it to captured image data;

(b) input means configured to receive input image data from a source other than the camera;

(c) image manipulation means configured to receive the input image data from the input means and manipulate it to form a manipulated image;

(d) output means configured to receive the manipulated image from the image manipulation means and to output the manipulated image from the camera; and

(e) display means configured to receive the manipulated image from the image manipulation means and to display the manipulated image.

Preferably, the input means is configured to receive the input image from an input-image-providing camera.

Preferably, some or all of the input and output means comprise at least one USB or Firewire port.

In a preferred form, the output means is configured to output the manipulated image to a manipulated-image-receiving camera.

It is particular preferred that the display means comprise a printer device, the display means being configured to display the manipulated image by printing it.

It is also preferred that the camera further comprise a storage-device reader configured to read image manipulation instructions stored on a manipulation-instruction storage-device. In this case, it is preferred that the image manipulation means is configured to generated the manipulated image by manipulating the input image in accordance with image manipulation instructions received from a manipulation-instruction storage-device via the storage-device reader.

In accordance with a second aspect of the invention, there is provided a plurality of cameras for creating a manipulated image, the plurality of cameras including:

(a) a primary camera, comprising:

    • (i) image capture means configured to capture a real image as a primary captured image;
    • (ii) image manipulation means configured to manipulate the primary captured image to form a primary manipulated image;
    • (iii) image providing means configured to receive the primary manipulated image from the image manipulation means and provide the primary manipulated image to a secondary camera; and

(b) a secondary camera, comprising:

    • (i) image capture means configured to capture a real image as a secondary captured image;
    • (ii) image receiving means configured to receive the primary manipulated image from the image providing means of the primary camera; and
    • (iii) image manipulation means configured to receive the primary manipulated image from the image receiving means and manipulate the primary manipulated image to form a secondary manipulated image.

Preferably, the secondary camera further comprises display means configured to receive the secondary manipulated image from the image manipulation means and display it. More preferably, the display means comprises a printer device configured to print the secondary manipulated image.

In accordance with a third aspect of the invention, there is provided a method for forming a manipulated image, the method comprising the steps of:

(a) providing a primary camera, the primary camera comprising:

    • (i) image capture means;
    • (ii) image manipulation means; and
    • (iii) image providing means; and

(b) providing a secondary camera, the secondary camera comprising:

    • (i) image capture means;
    • (ii) image receiving means; and
    • (iii) image manipulation means, the primary camera performing the steps of:

(c) capturing a real image as a captured image using the image capture means;

(d) manipulating the captured image using the image manipulation means to form a primary manipulated image;

(e) providing the primary manipulated image to the secondary camera via the image providing means; and

the secondary camera performing the steps of:

(f) receiving the primary manipulated image from the image providing means of the primary camera via the image receiving means of the secondary camera; and

(g) manipulating the primary manipulated image using the image manipulation means to form a secondary manipulated image.

In other aspects, the invention comprises manipulated images from primary or secondary cameras, the images preferably being in printed form,

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Notwithstanding any other forms which may fall within the scope of the present invention, preferred forms of the invention will now be described, by way of example only, with reference to the accompanying drawings which:

FIG. 1 illustrates the form of interconnection of the preferred embodiment.

DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED AND OTHER EMBODIMENTS

The preferred embodiment is preferably implemented through suitable programming of a hand held camera device such as that described in Australian Provisional Patent Application entitled “Image Processing Method and Apparatus (ART01)” filed concurrently herewith by the present applicant the content of which is hereby specifically incorporated by cross reference.

The aforementioned patent specification discloses a camera system, hereinafter known as an “Artcam” type camera, wherein sensed images can be directly printed out by an Artcam portable camera unit. Further, the aforementioned specification discloses means and methods for performing various manipulations on images captured by the camera sensing device leading to the production of various effects in any output image. The manipulations are disclosed to be highly flexible in nature and can be implemented through the insertion into the Artcam of cards having encoded thereon various instructions for the manipulation of images, the cards hereinafter being known as Artcards. The Artcam further has significant onboard processing power by an Artcam Central Processor unit (ACP) which is interconnected to a memory device for the storage of important data and images.

In the preferred embodiment, multiple Artcams as described in the aforementioned patent specification are interconnected via their USB ports so as to provide a cascading of imaging effects. Through suitable programming of the internal computer portions of each Artcam, a cascading of imaging effects can be achieved.

The preferred arrangement is as illustrated in FIG. 1 wherein a series of Artcams, e.g. 2, 3, 4, are interconnected 5 via their USB ports. Each Artcam 2, 3, 4 is provided with a corresponding Artcard 7, 8, 9 having a suitable image manipulation program stored thereon. Further, the instructions for utilisation in a network environment can be provided on the Artcard 7, 8, 9. The image 10 sensed by the Artcam 2 is then manipulated by the manipulation program on Artcard 7 with the result being forwarded 5 to Artcam device 3 which applies the image manipulation function provided on Artcard 8 producing a corresponding output which is forwarded to the next Artcam in the series. The chained Artcam has been modified so as to have two USB ports for this purpose. The final Artcam 4 applies its Artcard manipulation stored on Artcard 9 for producing output 12 which is a conglomeration of each of the previous image manipulations.

The arrangement 1 on FIG. 1 thereby provides the opportunity to apply multiple effects to a single sensed image. Of course, a number of further refinements are possible. For example, each Artcam could print out its own manipulated image in addition to forwarding the image to the next Artcam in the series. Additionally, splitting of paths where one Artcam outputs to two different downstream Artcams which result in different final images being output could also be provided. Additionally, loops, etc., could be utilised.

It would be appreciated by a person skilled in the art that numerous variations and/or modifications may be made to the present invention as shown in the specific embodiment without departing from the spirit or scope of the invention as broadly described. The present embodiment is, therefore, to be considered in all respects to be illustrative and not restrictive.

Ink Jet Technologies

The embodiments of the invention use an ink jet printer type device. Of course many different devices could be used. However presently popular ink jet printing technologies are unlikely to be suitable.

The most significant problem with thermal ink jet is power consumption. This is approximately 100 times that required for high speed, and stems from the energy-inefficient means of drop ejection. This involves the rapid boiling of water to produce a vapor bubble which expels the ink. Water has a very high heat capacity, and must be superheated in thermal inkjet applications. This leads to an efficiency of around 0.02%, from electricity input to drop momentum (and increased surface area) out.

The most significant problem with piezoelectric ink jet is size and cost. Piezoelectric crystals have a very small deflection at reasonable drive voltages, and therefore require a large area for each nozzle. Also, each piezoelectric actuator must be connected to its drive circuit on a separate substrate. This is not a significant problem at the current limit of around 300 nozzles per print head, but is a major impediment to the fabrication of pagewide print heads with 19,200 nozzles.

Ideally, the ink jet technologies used meet the stringent requirements of in-camera digital color printing and other high quality, high speed, low cost printing applications. To meet the requirements of digital photography, new ink jet technologies have been created. The target features include:

    • low power (less than 10 Watts)
    • high resolution capability (1,600 dpi or more)
    • photographic quality output
    • low manufacturing cost
    • small size (pagewidth times minimum cross section)
    • high speed (<2 seconds per page).

All of these features can be met or exceeded by the ink jet systems described below with differing levels of difficulty. 45 different ink jet technologies have been developed by the Assignee to give a wide range of choices for high volume manufacture. These technologies form part of separate applications assigned to the present Assignee as set out in the table below.

The ink jet designs shown here are suitable for a wide range of digital printing systems, from battery powered one-time use digital cameras, through to desktop and network printers, and through to commercial printing systems

For ease of manufacture using standard process equipment, the print head is designed to be a monolithic 0.5 micron CMOS chip with MEMS post processing. For color photographic applications, the print head is 100 mm long, with a width which depends upon the ink jet type. The smallest print head designed is IJ38, which is 0.35 mm wide, giving a chip area of 35 square mm. The print heads each contain 19,200 nozzles plus data and control circuitry.

Ink is supplied to the back of the print head by injection molded plastic ink channels. The molding requires 50 micron features, which can be created using a lithographically micromachined insert in a standard injection molding tool. Ink flows through holes etched through the wafer to the nozzle chambers fabricated on the front surface of the wafer. The print head is connected to the camera circuitry by tape automated bonding.

Although the invention has been described with reference to a number of specific examples, it will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that the invention can be embodied in many other forms.