Visual Sensor with Resolution Enhancement by Mechanical Vibrations*

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The resolution limit of visual sensors due to finite pixel spacing can be overcome by applying continuous low-amplitude vibrations to the image—or taking advantage of existing vibrations in the environment. Thereby, spatial intensity gradients turn into temporal intensity fluctuations which can be detected and processed by every pixel independently from the others. This approach enhances resolution and virtually eliminates fixed-pattern noise. A visual sensing microsystem taking advantage of this principle is described. It incorporates a custom analog integrated circuit implementing an array of 32 by 32 pixels with local temporal signal processing. Another key component is a resonant mechanical device producing low-amplitude image scanning movements powered by environmental vibrations.

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