University of Malta’s Memento Project in full swing
Activity at the University of Malta’s Department of Electronic Systems Engineering is reaching feverish levels as a team of young engineers begin pulling together the many different threads of research and development to produce a complete prototype of a sophisticated camera system.
Memento is an acronym for Multi camEra high fraMe ratE synchronisation and is the university’s first initiative at commercialising home-grown electronics technology. This is being undertaken in collaboration with a local technology company, MST Audio Visual Limited (www.mst.com.mt), which has established itself as a leading media-engineering consultancy.
The product combines numerous technologies and locally generated intellectual property to offer scientific customers and video production professionals with a unique video capture solution that can be precision-synchronised across several cameras.
The product can deliver real-time, high frame rate video footage with an exquisite level of image quality at an attractive price point and is aimed at those situations where low-light phenomena need to be simultaneously imaged from multiple vantage points.
“This is a situation that arises in several industrial and research contexts, from laser welding, to plasma physics, to combustion research, to bioluminescence. The list is endless,” says Dr Ing. Marc Anthony Azzopardi, who has been leading the project from its inception.
3D Rendered cut-out of the Memento camera
The portable instrument borrows ideas from modern PC technology such as fast DIMMs (dual-in-line memory modules) and high-speed networking and relies on a custom heat-pipe based heat-sink solution in order to keep the FPGA (Field Programmable Gate Array) processing electronics and the image sensor at an acceptable operating temperature. The standard lens mount allows a variety of lenses to be interchanged by the user to match with the application.
“This is the time where the mechanical, material, thermal, electrical and optical constraints need to come together seamlessly,” says Alec Fenech, who is one of the postgraduate engineering students working on the project. “All the while, attention is being given to the ergonomics and overall user experience,” he adds.
The product will require further development and a Beta Testing Programme will give the opportunity for early customers wishing to evaluate it while providing the team with invaluable feedback before it is released to the wider market.
Memento secured close to €200,000 of funding covering a three-year period of intense development, from the Malta Council for Science & Technology through Fusion: The R&I Technology Development Programme.
The Memento team and their technical contributions: Third Row: Jamie, Andrew and Karl. Second Row: Luke, Marc and Reuben. Front row: Alec, Andre, Andrea and Michael. Absent: Darren and Roberto