A startup is developing a low cost 180 degree panoramic camera that could have a significant impact in real world video surveillance deployments in 2010.
The company, Scallop Imaging, has extensive optics expertise. Their initial product called Digital Window is a 7MP camera that provides a wide horizontal image of 5120 x 1280 resolution. The camera uses (5) fixed focal 1.3 MP imagers to generate a 180 degree image.
The company is in advanced stages of development but is not planning to ship product commercially until the end of 2009. They are currently evaluating OEMing products to major manufacturers or establishing dealer distribution.
[October 2009: An update on Scallop Imaging is now available.]
The camera's very wide resolution matches extremely well with many typical surveillance applications. Most applications only require 7 to 12 foot high coverage, because the target is primarily people. However, people can walk move across wide areas of tens of meters. As such, the image dimensions of this camera (5120 x 1280) match very efficiently with the areas needed for surveillance.
For general activity monitoring in banks, retailers, offices (e.g. lobbies), wall mounting 1 or a few of these cameras could significantly reduce costs and improve aesthetics.
For such applications, these camera look to compare favorably to using traditional multi-megapixel cameras, 360 degree cameras and ultra-wide angle lenses.