A camera the size of a grain of salt

A camera the size of a grain of salt

6. December 2021 0 By Horst Buchwald

A camera the size of a grain of salt

San Francisco, Dec. 6, 2021

Researchers at Princeton University and the University of Washington have developed a “metasurface” camera that is only the size of a grain of salt. The system is capable of capturing full-color images, similar to normal camera lenses that are up to 500,000 times larger.

While conventional cameras use curved lenses, the new microcamera uses a circular metasurface that contains 1.6 million cylindrical posts. The posts act like optical antennas, bending light so that the entire array can shape the optical wavefront.

Machine learning algorithms process and “desharp” the incoming data to produce high-quality color images. In tests, the sensor captured 720 x 720 images in full color at wavelengths between 400 and 700 nm. It is the first known system to use optical surface technology on the front side and neural network processing on the back.

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