Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Pixel perfect: Lens-free, pinhead-size camera developed

Date:
July 14, 2011
Source:
Cornell University
Summary:
It's like a Brownie camera for the digital age: The microscopic device fits on the head of a pin, contains no lenses or moving parts, costs pennies to make -- and this camera could revolutionize an array of science from surgery to robotics.

The Planar Fourier Capture Array takes images from an array of angle-sensitive pixels. For example, at right, the camera reconstructed an image of the Mona Lisa.
Credit: Molnar lab

It's like a Brownie camera for the digital age: The microscopic device fits on the head of a pin, contains no lenses or moving parts, costs pennies to make -- and this Cornell-developed camera could revolutionize an array of science from surgery to robotics.

The camera was invented in the lab of Alyosha Molnar, Cornell assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering, and developed by a group led by Patrick Gill, a postdoctoral associate. Their working prototype, detailed online in the journal Optics Letters (July 6, 2011), is 100th of a millimeter thick, and one-half millimeter on each side. The camera resolves images about 20 pixels across -- not portrait studio quality, but enough to shed light on previously hard-to-see things.

"It's not going to be a camera with which people take family portraits, but there are a lot of applications out there that require just a little bit of dim vision," Gill said.

In fact, Gill, whose other research interests involve making sense of how the brain's neurons fire under certain stimuli, began this invention as a side project related to work on developing lens-less implantable systems for imaging brain activity. This type of imaging system could be useful as part of an implantable probe for imaging neurons that have been modified to glow when they are active.

Gill's camera is just a flat piece of doped silicon, which looks something like a tiny CD, with no parts that require off-chip manufacturing. As a result, it costs just a few cents to make and is incredibly small and light, as opposed to conventional small cameras on chips that cost a dollar or more and require bulky focusing optics.

The scientists call their camera a Planar Fourier Capture Array (PFCA) because it uses the principles of the Fourier transform, which is a mathematical tool that allows multiple ways of capturing the same information. Each pixel in the PFCA reports one component of the Fourier transform of the image being detected by being sensitive to a unique blend of incident angles.

While Fourier components themselves are sometimes directly useful, a bit of computation can also transform Fourier components into an image.

The scientists will continue working to improve the camera's resolution and efficiency, but they think their concept can lead to a myriad of applications. It could be a component in any cheap electronic system -- in devices that, for example, detect the angle of the sun or a micro-robot that requires a simple visual system to navigate.

Funding for this work was provided by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and the National Institutes of Health.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Cornell University. The original article was written by Anne Ju. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Cornell University. "Pixel perfect: Lens-free, pinhead-size camera developed." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 July 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110706101557.htm>.
Cornell University. (2011, July 14). Pixel perfect: Lens-free, pinhead-size camera developed. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110706101557.htm
Cornell University. "Pixel perfect: Lens-free, pinhead-size camera developed." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110706101557.htm (accessed July 22, 2014).

Share This




More Computers & Math News

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Google Plans To Speed Up Web Pages With New Image Format

Google Plans To Speed Up Web Pages With New Image Format

Newsy (July 21, 2014) Google is using compressed images in WebP format to help boost page loading times. The files are 25-to-34 percent smaller than PNGs and JPEGs. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Uruguayan Creates Chess Game for Multiple Opponents

Uruguayan Creates Chess Game for Multiple Opponents

AFP (July 19, 2014) It no longer takes two to play chess – or at least according to a new version of the game invented by Uruguayan Gabriel Baldi, where up to four opponents can play. Duration: 00:31 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Clock Ticks Down on Internet Speed Debate

Clock Ticks Down on Internet Speed Debate

Reuters - US Online Video (July 18, 2014) The FCC received more than 800,000 comments on whether and how internet speeds should be regulated, even crashing its system. Lily Jamali reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Google Won't Call Games With In-App Add-Ons Free, Apple Will

Google Won't Call Games With In-App Add-Ons Free, Apple Will

Newsy (July 18, 2014) The European Commission asked Google and Apple not to label apps "free" if they include in-app purchases. Google has complied; Apple has resisted. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins