Engineers build smallest, fastest digital gigapixel camera

Engineers in the United States have built a prototype gigapixel camera the size of a bedside cabinet that can capture an image in a single snapshot with 1,000 times more detail than today's devices.

It is not the world's first gigapixel camera, but it is the smallest and fastest and opens up prospects for improving airport security, military surveillance and even online sports coverage, its developers say.

A pixel is a small light point in a digital image, concentrations of which together form a picture.

Today's cameras capture images measured in megapixels -- a million pixels -- normally between eight and 40 for an average consumer device. A thousand megapixels make a gigapixel, which is thus comprised of a billion pixels.

Most of today's gigapixel images are made by digitally merging several megapixel pictures.

"Our camera records a one gigapixel image in less than a 10th of a second," project member David Brady told AFP of the project reported in the journal Nature.

Gigapixel imaging captures details that are invisible to the human eye and can later be examined by zooming in without losing clarity.

Dubbed AWARE-2, the device is housed in a box of 75 cm X 50 cm X 50 cm -- most of which comprises electronic processing and communication equipment.

The optical system consists of a six-centimeter (2.4-inch) ball-shaped lens surrounded by an array of 98 micro-cameras each with a 14-megapixel sensor.

Brady said the optical system on its own weighs about 10 kilograms (22 pounds), but with the case about 45 kg.

"The electronic system shrinks by a factor of four in the next generation, however."

In use today are highly specialized gigapixel astronomical telescopes and airborne surveillance systems, which are comparatively large and have a narrow field of view, said Brady of Duke University in North Carolina.

There are also some film-based gigapixel cameras.

"Our technology is most interesting as the first demonstration of high pixel count and wide field of view imaging at finite focal ranges," said Brady.

The cost of such a camera today would be similar to that of a high-resolution digital movie camera, he said -- about $100,000 to $250,000 (80,000 to 200,000 euros).

But as the electronics improve, the price should become affordable for professional and serious amateur photographers within about five years, followed soon thereafter by hand-held gigapixel cameras entering into widespread use.

Brady said the technology could be used, for example, to stream sporting events over the Internet -- enabling viewers to zoom in and watch the game from whatever perspective and resolution they choose.

Similarly, cameras mounted in game parks or at scenic lookouts would allow online tourists to examine a scene in much more detail than if they were actually there.

"Ubiquitous gigapixel cameras may transform the central challenge of photography from the question of where to point the camera to that of how to mine the data," said the Nature report.

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • US renews travel warning to Mindanao
    US renews travel warning to Mindanao

    The US State Department renewed its warning about the risks of travel to the Philippines, in particular to the Sulu archipelago, certain regions and cities of Mindanao and the southern Sulu Sea area. In an update on Wednesday of a travel warning it issued Nov. 20, 2014, the State Department said US citizens should continue to defer non-essential travel to the Sulu archipelago due to the high threat of kidnapping of international travelers and violence linked to insurgency and terrorism there. …

  • Phl gains support for APEC Action Agenda
    Phl gains support for APEC Action Agenda

    The Philippine initiative to put the interests of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) front and center in global and regional trade has made significant progress following the conclusion on Thursday of the 2nd APEC Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM2) and Related Meetings in Boracay, Aklan. Called “The Boracay Action Agenda to Globalize MSMEs,” the Philippine proposal calls for a host of specific, concrete and practical interventions that APEC economies can implement to provide MSMEs wider …

  • Phl to join Bangkok meet on Rohingya crisis next week
    Phl to join Bangkok meet on Rohingya crisis next week

    The Philippines will join a 15-nation meeting in Bangkok, Thailand next week to address the migration crisis involving thousands of Rohingyas who escaped persecution in Myanmar and Bangladesh. Justice Secretary Leila de Lima bared this yesterday after meeting with United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) representative to the Philippines Bernard Kerblat. In an interview, De Lima said the Philippine government has been invited to the meeting. …

  • Magnitude 4.2 quake jolts Sorsogon
    Magnitude 4.2 quake jolts Sorsogon

    LEGAZPI CITY—A magnitude 4.2 earthquake hit Prieto Diaz town in Sorsogon before dawn yesterday, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said. …

  • Drought-resistant rice breeds bared
    Drought-resistant rice breeds bared

    SCIENCE CITY OF MUÑOZ, Nueva Ecija – Amid the searing heat, the Philippine Rice Research Institute central experiment station here has identified nine rice breeds which have been proven to be drought-resistant and produce high yields in temperatures as high as 38°C based on a recent study. Thelma Padolina, lead researcher of the study titled “Screening of rice-induced mutants for heat and drought tolerance,” identified the breeding lines as the Ballatinaw lines, PSB Rc72H and Azucena lines. …

  • Phl, US assert rights, ignore China warning
    Phl, US assert rights, ignore China warning

    The United States military will continue air and sea patrols in international waters even after the Chinese navy repeatedly warned a US surveillance plane to leave the airspace over artificial islands China is creating in the disputed South China Sea. The Philippine government also declared it would continue activities in the region, calling on China to respect freedom of navigation and aviation. “Our position on the importance of letting freedom of navigation, freedom of aviation and …

  • MM shutdown eyed for quake drill; 6 schools warned
    MM shutdown eyed for quake drill; 6 schools warned

    Electricity and mobile phone services would be cut throughout Metro Manila, and all private and government offices and businesses, including shopping malls, would be closed. That would be the situation on July 16 between 3 and 8 p.m. to simulate the scenario of a 7.2 magnitude earthquake. The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) has warned that an earthquake of that magnitude could occur and kill at least 33,500 people and injure at least 113,600 others following a …

  • Subaru XV now priced among sedans
    Subaru XV now priced among sedans

    Motor Image Philipinas (MIP), the authorized distributor of Subaru in the country, has positioned its brand new crossover SUV, the Subaru XV, well within the sedan segment’s price range. This move, according to MIP, was made to give the public an opportunity to experience the brand’s unique automotive technologies by lowering its price. Buyers of […] The post Subaru XV now priced among sedans appeared first on Carmudi Philippines. …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options