Researchers at Princeton University and the University of Washington have created an ultra-compact camera the size of a grain of salt. The researchers said it could take pictures as well as a 500,000 larger camera.
The tiny camera could someday be used in minimally-invasive endoscopies with medical robots to diagnose and treat diseases. The researchers also hope it could be used to turn surfaces into sensors.
“It’s been a challenge to design and configure these little microstructures to do what you want,” says computer scientist Ethan Tseng from Princeton University in New Jersey.
“For this specific task of capturing large field of view RGB images, it was previously unclear how to co-design the millions of nano-structures together with post-processing algorithms.”
“We could turn individual surfaces into cameras that have ultra-high resolution, so you wouldn’t need three cameras on the back of your phone anymore, but the whole back of your phone would become one giant camera,” says computer scientist Felix Heide from Princeton University.
“We can think of completely different ways to build devices in the future.”
The research has been published in Nature Communications.