Monday, October 09, 2006

Single-pixel camera

New Scientist has a write-up on a new camera technology to be presented at this week's Frontiers in Optics conference by researchers Richard Baraniuk and Kevin Kelly of Rice University in Houston, Texas (USA). The idea is to replace the multi-pixel image sensors currently used in digital cameras with an array of micro-mirrors that randomly reflect the light hitting them onto a single photoreceptor (i.e. light sensor). A follow-on processing stage then sorts out all the digitized light information to construct an approximation of the original image.

It is claimed that this can reduce overall power consumption of the system as well as compress the image data. Not to be too critical of early-stage work, but that seems like it will require one or more break-throughs and a favorable nod from the ghost of Mr. Murphy (of Murphy's Law fame).

Another idea that the researchers put forward seems to be a more workable application of the technology - using it with sensors that may not lend themselves easily to large arrays, such as terrahertz or ultraviolet single-element sensors.

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