Improving devices with cameras by minimizing the module while keeping a decent image quality and low power consumption is the big objective nowadays. Most manufacturers are working day and night to provide user-friendly, small and thin devices with great imaging results. Researchers from Columbia Engineering, though, are thinking outside this box. One team developed a flexible sheet of material that works like a camera and can be, thus, molded on any object you can think of #fotomagic
A group of scientists led by Shree K. Nayar, T.C. Chang Professor of Computer Science at Columbia Engineering, came up with an entirely new way of capturing photos. They developed a flexible lens array that can adapt its optical properties to any deformation of the sheet camera. That means you could wrap it around a car or street pole and it would deliver images from that point of view.
“While the camera industry has made remarkable progress in shrinking the camera to a tiny device with ever increasing imaging quality, we are exploring a radically different approach to imaging. We believe there are numerous applications for cameras that are large in format but very thin and highly flexible”
The results are wide, seamless images with a distorted, but esthetically-pleasing fields of view.
The prototype lens array was made with silicone and succeded in enabling the focal length of each lens in the sheet cam to change according to the local bending of the sheet. In the demonstrative video, researchers’ imagine a camera that could one day take the size of a credit card that the artist simply flexes to capture the image desired.