New microscopic camera the size of a salt grain has ultrahigh resolution

New camera the size of a grain of salt has ultrahigh resolution [Video]


  • Researchers have developed a new miscroscopic camera that’s as small as a grain of salt.
  • The minicam, intended for less invasive endoscopies, can capture “crisp, full-color images” in ultrahigh definition.
  • The team has released experimental imaging results from the newly developed camera.

A new microscopic camera developed by researchers at Princeton University and the University of Washington is as small as a grain of salt but can deliver ultrahigh definition pictures.

The minicam’s diminutive size may perhaps find use in covert spy operations, but it was intended for medical purposes, such as less invasive endoscopies.

According to a press release, the tiny camera can deliver “crisp, full-color images” that are “on par with a conventional compound camera lens” 500,000 times its size. This is a huge leap in comparison to previous cameras that can only provide “fuzzy, distorted” images.



The researchers employed a new “metasurface” technology to produce the ultracompact camera in a way that is similar to producing a computer chip. The camera contains 1.6 million microscopic posts that function “like an optical antenna.”

Joseph Mait, a former US Army Research Laboratory chief scientist, said, “The significance of the published work is completing the Herculean task to jointly design the size, shape, and location of the metasurface’s million features and the parameters of the post-detection processing to achieve the desired imaging performance.”

Study co-lead and Princeton computer science Ph.D. student Ethan Tseng stated, “It’s been a challenge to design and configure these little nano-structures to do what you want.”

The study authors added that this technology could be applied to other types of cameras beyond the microscopic medical field.

Senior study author Felix Heide stated, “We could turn individual surfaces into cameras that have ultrahigh 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. We can think of completely different ways to build devices in the future.”


Source: New York Post

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