Elphel Eyesis

From ElphelWiki
Jump to: navigation, search



Superseded by Eyesis4Pi


Eyesis Camera Head
Camera Head and Pole with Data Storage Box
Complete Package in Shipping Case
Eyesis Data Storage - Close-Up
Eyesis GUI - recording software with live previews


Elphel Eyesis is an open hardware / free software panoramic camera solution that is able to capture high-resolution - 38 MPix total (45 MPix before stitching) - 360° panoramas at a rate up to 5 frames per second at full resolution. Images are recorded to 3 swappable solid-state-discs (Eyesis Data Storage) which can store up to 11 hours of footage at full resolution. Meta-data like GPS-coordinates (geotags), viewing direction, movement speed, etc. are directly embedded into the images EXIF fields. Eyesis uses 9 sensor-front-ends and high-grade lenses that are triggered simultaneously with microsecond accuracy.

Usage Scenarios

The camera head was designed to be small and lightweight with a minimal distance between the entrance pupils (29.5 mm) to achieve lowest possible parallax.

The primary usage scenario is to mount Eyesis on the roof of a vehicle. When driving at 50 mph (22.3 m/s) and recording at 5 FPS a full panorama is captured every 4.46 meters.

Though the total weight is just around 10 kg (22 lbs.) which also allows back-pack like operation.

Operation & Monitoring

Eyesis is controlled from a laptop, via a web-based interface (Eyesis GUI). Which also displays real-time previews of your captured panorama footage.

Eyesis is supplied with 110V/220V AC and can be used with car power adapter (inverter), when mounted on a car roof. Power consumption is around 50W.


The sensor-front-ends - which were especially developed for Eyesis - allow the focus plane to be shifted and rotated with very high accuracy. This allows extremely precise calibration of each lens and SFE which is done with every Eyesis during assembly with custom developed software. Check out this Elphel Development Blog post for more details.

Tech specs

Eyesis Camera

  • 8x Color 5Mpix CMOS sensors in array
  • 1x Color 5Mpix CMOS sensor pointing upwards
  • Resolution - 38MPix (45MPix before stitching)
  • Up to 5 FPS at full resolution (45Mpix)
  • highly customisable
  • Web-based GUI
  • GPS powered geo-tagging
  • Precise image capture synchronisation
  • RAW or compressed image formats
  • High resolution lenses: 9x M12 lens mount
  • Very small parallax - distance between entrance pupils: 29.5 mm
  • Dimensions of camera pole: 1000 mm x 60 mm
  • Dimensions of camera head: 210 mm x 332 mm
  • Weatherproof camera body and camera pole
  • Total power consumption: 35W
  • Total weight ~10 kg (22 lbs.)
  • Panorama coverage
    • 8 horizontal pointed lenses:
      • f=4.5mm
      • F=1.8
      • FOV (combined): 360 degrees horizontal, -30 to +30 degrees vertical
      • total sensor pixels - 40MPix
      • angular resolution (worst case) - 4.2Mpix/steradian (or 52.5MPix for the sphere)
    • Top fisheye lens
      • f=2.0mm
      • F=2.0
      • FOV: 360 degrees horizontal, +30 to +90 degrees vertical
      • total sensor pixels - 5MPix
      • angular resolution (worst case) - 0.83Mpix/steradian (10.4Mpix/sphere)
  • Panoramic image (Mercator) 12.9Kx4.3K - 55MPix

Eyesis Data Storage

  • 3x swappable 256GB - 2.5" - SSDs (Total 768GB) in Drivebay
  • Enough space for up to 11 hours of full Resolution/FPS footage (depending on quality settings and actual image content)
  • GigEthernet Switch
  • Weatherproof enclosure
  • Dimensions of Data Storage : 280 x 120 x 170 mm

Eyesis Computer

The Eyesis Computer is a high-end-workstation with small form factor. It is intended for image post-processing and not required for recording footage.

It comes with all Elphel developed software and tools required for processing panoramic images preinstalled.

  • Small form factor Shuttle PC
  • Intel Core i7-950 Quad-Core Processor
  • 16 GB DDR3 RAM
  • GeForce GTX 465 (Fermi) 1GB
  • 2 TB HDD
  • Same 2.5" drivebays as Eyesis Data Storage Box to load SSDs

Tech Specs of a Single Image Sensor (Eyesis uses 9 of these)

Color Image Sensor 1/2.5" bayer-pattern CMOS
Effective number of pixels 2592x1936 (5,018,112 pixels)
Aspect Ratio Chip 4:3, Region of interest freely adjustable in 16 pixel steps
Sensor Output 12 Bit ADC
Sensor Features Region of interest, on-chip binning and decimation
Dynamic Range 70 db (76 db at 2x2 binning)
Electronic Shutter 1 us to "very long" (~3h) in 1us steps
Gain Analog & Digital (0 db to 12 db continuous)

Brochure Downloads

Example Footage


Downtown - Salt Lake City at Night

Panorama WebGL Version (requires HTML5/WebGL browser support)


Downtown - Salt Lake City at Night

Panorama WebGL Version (requires HTML5/WebGL browser support)


Downtown - Salt Lake City - cloudy weather

Panorama WebGL Version (requires HTML5/WebGL browser support)

Down Town

Downtown - Salt Lake City - Sunshine

Panorama WebGL Version (requires HTML5/WebGL browser support)


Capitol - Salt Lake City - Sunshine

Panorama WebGL Version (requires HTML5/WebGL browser support)

Price and Lead-Time

Available now!

List Price*, USD
Eyesis Camera
Eyesis Data Storage
Eyesis Computer
Eyesis Shipping Case

Delivery is 3-4 months after 50% pre-payment. 
40.761405 For quotes and orders check: Elphel Order Page

*GPL discount available, see: Pricing/Discount/Donation Policy

Package Contents

The complete Eyesis kit comes with:

  • Pole
  • Camera Head:
    • 9x Sensor Front Ends (10338 Rev. D)
    • 8x Lenses + 1x fisheye lens
    • 3x Processor Boards (10353 Rev. E)
    • 3x IO Boards (10369 Rev. A)
    • 3x Multiplexer Boards (10359 Rev. A)
  • Storage Box
    • 3 SSDs (3x 256GB = 768GB) in Drivebay
    • Gigabit Ethernet Switch
  • All required cables
  • GPS receiver
  • Software to control and monitor Eyesis
  • Eyesis Computer for Image Post-Processing (not required for recording)
    • Small form factor high-end Shuttle PC with Intel Core i7-950 Quad-Core Processor, 16 GB DDR3 RAM, GeForce GTX 465 (Fermi) 1GB


Eyesis is a very complex piece of hardware, we strongly advise to budget training your staff:

  • Initial Eyesis Camera Operation Instruction
  • Hardware Operation
  • Operating and Monitoring Eyesis Software
  • Raw Image Enhancement

provided by Elphel

Not included in the kit

  • Power supply (115/220V AC) - Eyesis can be plugged into a wall plug / car power converter
  • Computer/Notebook to control/monitor image acquisition (Eyesis GUI)
  • Software to stitch panoramas

More Information


Elphel Development Blog:


Why are there 3 SSDs and not just a single bigger one?

There are nine sensor-front-ends. There are 3 system boards each connected to 3 sensor-front-ends and one SSD. So the shots of a single panorama are split up one 3 SSDs. 3 images to SSD1, 3 images to SSD2 and 3 images to SSD3.

Can I also use the Eyesis Data Storage with HDDs instead of SSDs?

We initially tested the system with HDDs but due to strong vibrations when using Eyesis mounted to a car roof we experience massive write-rate drops with HDDs. After we switched to SSDs all these problems were gone. If your Eyesis application does not involve bumby roads or vibrations HDDs should work just fine though.

What software do I need on my laptop/computer to control Eyesis?

Eyesis GUI requires a locally running webserver (apache2 + PHP5) and the Eyesis GUI software.

Install Instructions provide packages for Ubuntu and instructions for installation on other operating systems.

How do I connect my laptop/computer to Eyesis and how do I control image recording?

The Eyesis Data Storage Box hosts a Gigabit Ethernet switch so all you need is one Ethernet cable from the Data Storage Box to your laptop/computer.

The Eyesis GUI is completely browser based so after you connected to the network you just start a browser type in the correct URL and you are ready to go.

See Eyesis GUI Instructions