If you feel very proud of your iPhone’s 8Megapixel camera or your high resolution DSLR, you might want to consider what a camera capable of taking photos with gigapixel resolution implies. Researchers at Duke University and the University of Arizona thought this through, and managed to devise a 50 gigapixel camera. Here’s Paris in 26 Gigapixels just so you can form an idea.
The concept behind researchers’ incredible camera is extremely simple, quite lego-like. Stack 98 tiny cameras in a housing, and sync them such that they form one, giant camera. Of course, the scientists had to overcome a number of various, which, surprisingly, were more related to computing than optics.
“Our current approach, instead of making increasingly complex optics, is to come up with a massively parallel array of electronic elements,” Michael Gehm, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Arizona, commented in a release by the institution.
He continues: “A shared objective lens gathers light and routes it to the microcameras that surround it, just like a network computer hands out pieces to the individual work stations. Each gets a different view and works on their little piece of the problem. We arrange for some overlap, so we don’t miss anything.”
Yes, I know, you want one – unfortunately, the prototype is 2.5 feet square and 20 inches deep. Not your typical hiking camera gear, however the scientists feel confident that if camera technology and electronics continue to miniaturize at its current pace, consumer grade gigapixel cameras will hit the market soon enough.
Tibi is a science journalist and co-founder of ZME Science. He writes mainly about emerging tech, physics, climate, and space. In his spare time, Tibi likes to make weird music on his computer and groom felines.