Lens Free Camera Developed at Cornell
Patrick Gill, a postdoctoral associate, led a team that invented the camera in the laboratory of Alyosha Molnar, assistant professor of computing and electrical engineering at Cornell. Their working prototype, resolves images 20 pixels across, which is not studio quality but is quite impressive from a camera that’s only a hundredth of a millimeter thick. The camera was developed to shed light onto objects that were previously hard to see.
Gill’s camera looks like a tiny compact disc and is made of a flat piece of doped silicone, which makes its manufacturing costs amount to just a few cents. The camera is incredibly small and light and is much cheaper than traditional small cameras which cost a dollar or more to manufacture and require bulky focusing optics.
The scientists call the camera a Planar Fourier Capture Array (PFCA) since it uses the principles of the Fourier transformation, which is a mathematical tool that allows multiple ways of capturing the same information. The scientists would continue to refine the camera’s resolution and efficiency as they believe that such a device can have a multitude of applications. It could be used in devices that need to measure the angle of the sun or in a simple robot that requires a vision system to navigate.