50-Gigapixel Camera Created Using 98 Microcameras

Scientists at Duke University have created a digital camera that boasts a whopping 50 gigapixels. The camera, dubbed AWARE-2, uses 98 separate 14-megapixel microcameras and a special spherical lens. Each microcamera captures a tiny portion of the scene and a specially designed processor stitches the images together. Processing the data is so hardware intensive that 97% of the camera is made up of electronics and computer components (the other 3% is the optical elements).

Here’s what the camera looks like:

The researchers believe that gigapixels may one day fundamentally change the way we think about photography, saying,

Ubiquitous gigapixel cameras may transform the central challenge of photography from the question of where to point the camera to that of how to mine the data.

Imagine that. Photojournalists will be able to take in entire scenes and then crop out their desired photographs afterward. Sports photographers will be able to snap pictures of all the action and then extract images of key plays. The camera current has a pretty hefty price tag (~$100,000), but mass manufacturing could one day drive it down to $1,000 — cheaper than many DSLRs on the market today.

(via WSJ)

Image credits: Photographs by Duke University

  • Jens Hamada

    so much effort for such a boring motiv… ;)

  • eenoog (one-eye)

    Like a fly on the wall…

  • Victor

    The picture quality really sucks.

  • TMone

    A better camera for Big Brother?

  • Stephan Zielinski

    They have not created a 50 gigapixel camera.  They have created a one gigapixel camera.  They hope to build a bigger one that is 50 gigapixels.  Today’s Wired article about it: Adam Mann – Gigapixel Camera Sees Far More Than Meets the Eye.

  • 9inchnail

    “Sports photographers will be able to snap pictures of all the action and then extract images of key plays.”

    Would that not be the death of sports photography? Why have douzens of photographers sit next to a soccer field when you can just capture the entire scene with one shot? They would propably just install these babies in the arenas and sell the photos themselves.

  • will hall

    Seeing as this 20 gigapixel picture took 1400 18megapixel images, i doubt that they have managed 50 gigapixels in 98 pictures. As previously mentioned this prototype is only 1 Gigapixel. Scaling up they’d need 5000 cameras to get to capture all the data. And they think they can get it down to under $1K? A bit optimistic I think…

  • duh

    who whant a suitcase for a camara?

  • Teame Zazzu

    What about showing the auto-tracking software used to track all moving
    objects across the entire frame or the video of automatic object
    recognition tracking every car on the freeway, or perhaps all this is
    why all the license plates are blurred and there are no aerial
    perspectives? DHS appears to be attempting to integrate WASS (wide area
    surveillance system) and Persistics (tracking software) with systems
    like “Tentacle” to coordinate hand-off of tracked individuals from WASS
    (exteriors) to tracking individuals inside buildings (interiors),
    thereby circumventing line-of-sight limitations of UAVs in civilian
    domestic airspace. Domestic WASS footage to e processed in Bluffdale,
    Utah at NSA data processing center. For proof watch on youtube:

    Wide Area Airborn Surveillance: Opportunities and Challenges – Gerard Medioni

  • SirahManzoor

    The development of high-performance and low-cost microcamera optics and components has been the main challenge in our efforts to develop gigapixel cameras,” Brady said. “While novel multiscale lens designs are essential, the primary barrier to ubiquitous high-pixel imaging turns out to be lower power and more compact integrated circuits, not the optics

  • Jared Kotoff

    why is that optimistic? the computer you are using was better than anything in existence not that long ago and would have cost hundreds of thousands to make. Technology exponentially increases.

  • will hall

     It would mean that the cameras alone would have to be 20c each even if everything else was free. Just beacuse what cost $100k ten years ago now costs $1k, doesnt mean that what cost $1k ten years ago now costs $10

  • Xman

    shooting inside a soccer field offers different perspective, picture resolution & visual acuity.  Simply can’t compare with this survillence-purpose system.

  • william

    OMG ! it’s unbelievable m definitely want to see picture taken using this :D  

  • Michael

    ummm, do the math and read the original story. The camera as built is approximately 1 gigapixel. 50 is their theoretical maximum for this design.

  • kd

    give it 10 years it will be put in phones