Univer­sity of Malta’s Me­mento Project in full swing

The Malta Business Weekly - - NEWS -

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

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