MIT scientists have discovered that graphene, a material consisting of one-atom thick sheets of carbon, produces electric current when struck by light. The researchers say the finding could impact a number of fields, including photography:
Graphene “could be a good photodetector” because it produces current in a different way than other materials used to detect light. It also “can detect over a very wide energy range,” Jarillo-Herrero says. For example, it works very well in infrared light, which can be difficult for other detectors to handle. That could make it an important component of devices from night-vision systems to advanced detectors for new astronomical telescopes.
No word on when DSLRs will start packing graphene sensors.
A team of researchers at UC Davis have come up with a super-cheap way of turning an iPhone into a microscope — useful for diagnosing diseases in areas where medical equipment is hard to come by. Inspired by the CellScope project at UC Berkeley, Sebastian Wachsmann-Hogiu decided to create something even smaller and cheaper. By taping a 1-millimeter ball lens embedded in a rubber sheet to the iPhone, he was able to boost magnification by 5x, which allows the camera to photograph blood cells. Only a small portion of each image is in focus, so they also utilize focus stacking to achieve more usable photos.
The best part is the price — each lens only costs $30-40, and would be even cheaper if mass produced.
Thought the grain-of-salt-sized camera announced in Germany earlier this year was small? Well, researchers at Cornell have created a camera just 1/100th of a millimeter thick and 1mm on each size that has no lens or moving parts. The Planar Fourier Capture Array (PFCA) is simply a flat piece of doped silicon that cost just a few cents each. After light information is gathered, some fancy mathematical magic (i.e. the Fourier transform) turns the information into a 20×20 pixel “photo”. The fuzzy photo of the Mona Lisa above was shot using this camera.
Obviously, the camera won’t be very useful for ordinary photography, but it could potentially be extremely useful in science, medicine, and gadgets.
If you had a camera the size of a grain of rice, that would be considered extremely small, but researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute in Germany have created a camera the size of a grain of salt. The world’s smallest camera measures 1x1x1 millimeters, shoots 0.1 megapixel photographs (250×250 pixels), and is so inexpensive to make that they’re disposable. Potential uses for the camera include photographing the inside of human bodies (AKA endoscopy) and being used as rearview cameras on cars.
Future generations of photographers may one day look back and wonder why we often blinded each other with painfully bright flashes of light for the sake of proper exposure.
NYU researchers Dilip Krishnan and Rob Fergus are working on a dark flash that eliminates the “dazzle” effect of regular flashes in a low-light room. They’ve created this camera rig that combines common infrared photography techniques with an ultraviolet flash that produces a dim purple glow instead.
The team placed an infrared filter on the lens of the Fujifilm S5 Pro, which is has a modified CCD sensor that specializes in IR and UV photography. To supplement existing UV light, the team created a modified filter on an external flash to emit only UV and IR wavelengths. Read more…