Flexible sheet camera with elastic optical takes imaging technology to new heights
Owing to the advancements in imaging technologies, devices have also really shrunk to miniature sizes and it’s likely to revolutionize photography. The researchers at Columbia University’s Computer Vision Laboratory have taken a big leap in this field claiming to have developed a new flexible sheet camera that can be wrapped around objects and can capture images from altogether different angles and views. It’s like a flexible sheet with embedded lenses which adapt to stretching and curving of the sheet. They successfully designed and fabricated a flexible lens array capable of responding to bend in the sheet which is a completely new technology.
The team used a silicone sheet with flexible detector array and a thin optical system that can project a high quality image on the array. Now, the rigid lens would have miserably failed in adapting to bend and that would have created gaps between adjacent camera views, resulting in incomplete data. The images would lack many details. Also, rigid lens would mean fixed aperture that would create error on expansion of sheet.
To solve this issue, the university’s engineering team ended up at their passively adaptive lens array with optimized geometry and material properties. They fabricated the array using silicone. The lenses respond to deformation in the sheet to produce high image quality over a wide range of deformations of the sheet camera.
The team is confident that their adaptive lens array will prove an important milestone in the journey to make concept of flexible sheet cameras viable. If it’s manufactured cheaply, like a roll of plastic or fabric, then it can be wrapped around anything – poles, cars, furniture, cloths, body parts, or anything that was earlier impossible to capture with single-point cameras. The team is working on making the technology handy.
In brief, you can expect a high quality array of lenses contained on a surface equal to the size of a credit card. All you would have to do to capture detailed image would be to just swap across the surface of the subject.