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Gigapixel Cameras Create Highly Revealing Snapshots

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gigapixel single-shot camera lens

A bumpy secondary relay lens is attached to half of the ball-shaped lens in one of Columbia University researchers' proposed design for a single-snapshot gigapixel imaging. Each design relies on a ball-shaped lens because it has perfect symmetry, leading

Credit: Shree Nayar and Oliver Cossairt / Columbia University

Gigapixel images, which consist of one billion pixels, have become increasingly prominent on the Internet. They are generally taken using several megapixel-sized images that are then digitally combined to provide a high level of detail. However, the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has been developing a camera that can take gigapixel images with one snapshot.

Thus far, the equipment used for the single snapshot approach is bulky and expensive, but Columbia University researchers are developing a simpler single snapshot camera. "Rather than thinking about it as capturing the final image, you're capturing the information you would need to compute the final image," says Columbia professor Shree Nayar. The Columbia researchers are developing three gigapixel camera designs, each of which uses a ball-shaped lens and digital sensors, says Columbia researcher Oliver Cossairt. "We want to show there is a path to getting to gigapixel cameras, video, or still, using the form factor and the weight and the cost of something that would be a camera today," Nayar says.

Microsoft Research Asia scientists also are developing a single-shot gigapixel camera with an accordion-style lens. "The lens does not move during image capture, which is essential for archival quality imaging of any object that is not entirely flat," says Microsoft Research Asia's Moshe Ben-Ezra.

From Scientific American
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Abstracts Copyright © 2011 Information Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, USA


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