With the advent of Internet-connectivity and apps in cameraphones and digital cameras, images can now be shared with others in ways never before seen in the history of photography. Unfortunately, not all of the ways are positive. Some are downright creepy.
Take PlaceRaider, for example. It’s a malicious Android app that hijacks your smartphone’s camera, secretly takes photos of your life, and uses those images to reconstruct 3D virtual spaces of private locations. Read more…
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). Read more…
Researchers at Osaka University in Japan have created a new camera that makes shooting “from the hip” easier by projecting a white border onto the real world — similar to what laser sights do for firearms. The frame line shows exactly the area that will be in the photograph, and allows users to quickly shoot without looking through or at the camera itself. Before you get too excited about the possibility of using it for street photography, here’s the bad news: it’s more suited for things like snapping QR codes due to the fact that the compact projector is only bright enough to be used in dark places and at close range.
Last November we featured a concept camera called Air that is worn on your fingers and snaps photographs when you frame scenes with your fingers. That concept may soon become a reality. Researchers at IAMAS in Japan have developed a tiny camera called Ubi-Camera that captures photos as you position your fingers in the shape of a frame. The shutter button is triggered with your opposite hand’s thumb, and the “zoom” level is determined by how far the camera is from the photographer’s face. Expect these cameras to land on store shelves at about the same time as the gesture-controlled computers from Minority Report.
Researchers have created the first comprehensive image of the entire 3×5-mile debris field around the sinking of the Titanic:
Compiled from more than 100,000 photos taken by underwater robots, the composite image shows the world’s best remembered shipwreck in strikingly sharp detail. Although much of the debris is hidden, you can see how the ship split apart and tell by the debris that they hit the ground violently. In just over a month — April 15 — it will have been a century since the ship hit an iceberg and sunk to the bottom of the Atlantic.
Hyperspectral cameras are capable of collecting and processing information across the electromagnetic spectrum and beyond what the human eye can see. The technology ordinarily costs a fortune to get a hold of, but scientists at the Vienna University of Technology have figured out how to create a hyperspectral camera using an ordinary DSLR (the Canon 5D) and an adapter made of off-the-shelf parts (PVC pipes, a gel filter, and three camera lenses). The camera still has a ways to go in many areas — it requires several seconds to exposes images rather than milliseconds — but it’s a big step towards showing what’s possible with consumer camera technology.
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.