On Wednesday last week we deployed our new omnidirectional imaging system named OmniCam in the Birch Aquarium kelp tank. This deployment allowed us to test and set buoyancy in a salt water environment, check the operation of the instrument, and acquire video data on all six cameras of the environment in the kelp tank.
The OmniCam is a high resolution, high-speed imaging system designed to capture the ambient light field in the open ocean. It uses six scientific grade HD-CCD cameras, each supported by its own pico-ITX computer and solid state drive. This allows each camera to record data in parallel allowing for simultaneous acquisition of uncompressed HD video at up to 20 fps. Fisheye lenses are used on all six cameras to cover as wide a field of view as possible. The entire system is housed in a 44cm diameter glass sphere.
The system is now packaged and ready to take out to sea this week where it will be deployed as part of a multi-university program to study squid camouflage. Towards this effort, the OmniCam will record the light field in the squid’s natural habit. These data will then be played back to squid in a controlled laboratory setting.