International Journal of Computer Vision

, Volume 35, Issue 2, pp 175–196

A Theory of Single-Viewpoint Catadioptric Image Formation

  • Simon Baker
  • Shree K. Nayar

DOI: 10.1023/A:1008128724364

Cite this article as:
Baker, S. & Nayar, S.K. International Journal of Computer Vision (1999) 35: 175. doi:10.1023/A:1008128724364


Conventional video cameras have limited fields of view which make them restrictive for certain applications in computational vision. A catadioptric sensor uses a combination of lenses and mirrors placed in a carefully arranged configuration to capture a much wider field of view. One important design goal for catadioptric sensors is choosing the shapes of the mirrors in a way that ensures that the complete catadioptric system has a single effective viewpoint. The reason a single viewpoint is so desirable is that it is a requirement for the generation of pure perspective images from the sensed images. In this paper, we derive the complete class of single-lens single-mirror catadioptric sensors that have a single viewpoint. We describe all of the solutions in detail, including the degenerate ones, with reference to many of the catadioptric systems that have been proposed in the literature. In addition, we derive a simple expression for the spatial resolution of a catadioptric sensor in terms of the resolution of the cameras used to construct it. Moreover, we include detailed analysis of the defocus blur caused by the use of a curved mirror in a catadioptric sensor.

image formation sensor design sensor resolution defocus blur omnidirectional imaging panoramic imaging 

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Simon Baker
    • 1
  • Shree K. Nayar
    • 2
  1. 1.The Robotics InstituteCarnegie Mellon UniversityPittsburgh
  2. 2.Department of Computer ScienceColumbia UniversityNew York

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