Thursday, December 6, 2012

Passing of a legend

Dr. Bryce E. Bayer, the former Eastman Kodak scientist who invented the standard color filter pattern that bears his name, has died.

Aged 83, Bayer died on November 13 in Bath, Maine. According to a report in the New York Times, the cause of Bayer's death was a long illness related to dementia.

In Bayer-based color imagers, pixels on an image sensor are covered with a mosaic of red, green, and blue filters. In the Bayer pattern, 50% of the pixels are green, 25% are red, and 25% are blue. A technique called Bayer demosaicing is used to generate the red, green and blue values of each pixel to obtain a useful image from sensors that employ the Bayer filter.

The American scientist chose to use twice as many green pixels as red or blue to mimic the resolution and the sensitivity to green light of the human eye.

Today, there are other techniques that are used to produce color images. One such technique uses a prism to split light into three components that are then imaged by three separate sensors. Another uses a layered design where each point on the sensor array has photosensitive receptors for all three primary colors.

Despite these advances, the Bayer filter -- which was patented when he worked for Eastman Kodak in 1976 -- is the one that is most commonly found in most consumer cameras, camcorders, and scanners to create color images.

The staff of Vision Systems Design magazine would like to express our sincere condolences to Dr. Bayer's family.

He will be remembered as one of the greatest pioneers of digital imaging technology.

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