By synchronising 98 tiny cameras into a single device, engineers from Duke University and the University of Arizona have developed a prototype camera that takes images with unprecedented detail.
The camera's resolution is five times better than 20/20 human vision over a 120 degree horizontal field. The new camera has the potential to capture up to 50 gigapixels of data, which is 50,000 megapixels. By comparison, most consumer cameras are capable of taking photographs with sizes ranging from 8 to 40 megapixels. Pixels are individual "dots" of data – the higher the number of pixels, the better resolution of the image.
The researchers believe that within five years, as the electronic components become miniaturised and more efficient, the next generation of gigapixel cameras should be available to the general public.
Details of the new camera were published yesterday in the journal Nature. The team's research was supported by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).