Today in interesting scientific breakthroughs, researchers at a university in Germany have managed to 3D-print a three-lens camera the size of a grain of salt. A camera so small it can be injected using a standard syringe.
The team at University of Stuttgart reported their results in the journal Nature Photonics. They set out to try 3D printing as a way of bypassing the manufacturing limitations of making high-quality micro and nano optics for medical purposes, and in a few hours were able to design, manufacture, and test their ‘tiny eye’ by mounting it onto an optical fibre the thickness of about two human hairs.
The camera produced, in the researchers’ words, “high optical performances and tremendous compactness.”
The lens array is just 120 micrometers wide inside its casing and can focus from as close as 3mm away, making it perfect for non-invasive exploration of bodily organs. It could even offer an intimate peek inside the human brain.
And since these lenses can be printed directly onto image sensors (not just optical fibers) the tech will probably find many exciting applications outside of medical imagery.
Image credits: Photo by Timo Gissibl/University of Stuttgart.