Imaging solutions with Free Software & Open Hardware

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About Elphel

Elphel is a technology company doing research and development in the field of high-performance digital cameras, image processing, 3D imaging and machine learning.

Elphel imaging systems are primarily used for for scientific applications that require designs to be user-modifiable at all levels - from the hardware and FPGA code to the system and application software. Since the start of the company in 2001, Elphel was adhering to the FLOSS practice for the code and now applies CERN Open Hardware License to all electronic boards and mechanical CAD files. Elphel cameras are used in many National Laboratories, and universities in USA, European Union and other countries.

Starting with Google Books and later Google Street View projects we introduced JP4 – JPEG-based (and so compatible with the standard libraries) image compression that preserves raw Bayer data of the image sensors. Raw Bayer mosaic is a preferred format for image processing including various types of end-to-end DNN.

Elphel cameras offer unprecedented combination of high performance and complete openness at all levels – from mechanical and circuit design, FPGA RTL code up to all levels of the system and application software. All the design files are publicly available at Elphel web sites and through the popular GitHub repository. These features make Elphel products attractive for scientific research and innovative products. Elphel technology has been referenced in over a hundred scientific publications, and at least six US patent applications that use or reference Elphel products.

Since 2012 Elphel has been developing methods of precise camera calibration and designing photogrammetric multiple-view cameras with thermally compensated SFE resulting in 0.05 pix reprojection error for 5 MPix sensors. We developed modified checkerboard pattern where each edge consists of 2 arcs - this modification from traditional straight lines checkerboard makes power spectrum uniform and improves accuracy of the indirect measurement of the PSF for subsequent optical aberration correction of the acquired images.

From 2016 till present we are working on very long range 3D reconstruction and achieved 0.05 pix disparity resolution by combining several technology components developed by Elphel.

  • Use of multiple image sensors (4+) instead of conventional binocular stereo.
  • Advanced calibration, frequency-domain rectification, aberration correction, filtering, and 2D phase correlation.
  • Training and inference of the Deep Neural Network to predict the depth map from 2D correlation results. DNN analyzes context, extracts object edges, separates background, fuses depth map with textures.
Elphel MNC393-XCAM camera is a narrow baseline 3D perception system providing 10% ranging accuracy at 2000 m, by utilizing the achieved 0.05 pix disparity resolution.


Elphel Team

Andrey N. Filippov has over 25 years of experience in the embedded systems design. Andrey holds a PhD in Physics from the Moscow Institute for Physics and Technology. He worked for the General Physics Institute (Moscow, Russia) in the area of high-speed high-resolution, mixed signal design, application of PLDs and FPGAs, and microprocessor-based embedded system hardware and software design. In 1995 Andrey moved to the United States and in 2001 started started Elphel, Inc. with the purpose of designing and manufacturing Open Hardware and Free Software Digital Cameras. His vision for the open devices is to outperform the proprietary ones and be the leader in the field of high-performance cameras. As a lead engineer at Elphel Andrey has been designing and manufacturing digital cameras for variety of applications, including robotics, machine vision, aerial photography, document scanning, stereo and panoramic imaging. Camera designs include model NC323L camera for Google Bookscanning project and camera modules integrated into Google panoramic camera for Streetview. Universities around the world, Chinese Academy of Science Institute, NASA, National Laboratories, companies like Spawar and SpaceX are among the customers of cameras designed by Dr. Filippov and manufactured at Elphel, Inc. Andrey writes about current projects on Elphel development blog.

Oleg K. Dzhimiev Graduated from Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, in 2006, earning a Master's Degree in Applied Physics and Mathematics. Oleg had worked at the Institute of Precision Mechanics and Computer Engineering, Moscow for 2 years and joined Elphel in 2008 as an Electronics Engineer. Among other projects Oleg is responsible for creating firmware for Elphel network cameras and extension boards (Verilog), creating web-based User Interfaces for network cameras systems and applications (Ajax – Asynchronous JavaScript and XML), image processing related to camera calibration, measuring and correcting aberrations and distortions of lenses (Java), creating image post-processing workflows (Ajax, LAMP, Shell scripting). He has been working with various digital image formats like JPEG, DNG, TIFF, JP4 (Elphel), etc. and has gained substantial experience with digital image sensors work principles and properties. Oleg writes about his work on Elphel Blog.


Olga S. Filippova graduated from Moscow Institute for Architecture in 1996 and received Masters of Architecture degree from University of Utah in 2000. Olga has been with Elphel from it's foundation in 2001 as co-founder, logistics and operations manager, assisting with commercial decisions, PR, exhibitions and trade shows, design of Elphel office, and camera manufacturing. Olga writes on Elphel development blog.

Alexandre G. Poltorak is a Free Software and GNU/Linux expert. He has founded his first FOSS company in Geneva, Switzerland in 1999, and since then he has formed many specialists within Free Software community and actively participated in LPI.org. He is also member of the board of LSM (RMLL.info). Alexandre has largely contributed in partnership network of professionals around FOSS creating new companies & products and has developed many new ideas.

Having an in-house experience of Elphel's hardware, Alexandre recently developed his own comprehensive product - 3D4π - a fully integrated panoramic & stereo-photogrammetry solution which enables creation of geo-referenced panoramas and 3D point-clouds based on Elphel Eyesis-4π & PHG camera series.

Alexandre's role, at Elphel, is to promote Elphel's business model, and to build up solid and productive relations with Universities, FOSS community & partner networks.

Hobbies: advanced knowledge in block chain technology and 22 years of practice in traditional Karate, Alexandre holds a 3rd Dan.