A YouTuber has created “the worst digital camera of all time ever” consisting of just 48 photocells soldered to a circuit board.
Peter Sanchez from the Electromechanical Productions YouTube channel captured grayscale images on an extremely rudimentary camera that are so pixellated it looks like the mosaic filter on Photoshop was applied to the maximum.
“[The camera] is in an 8×6 matrix of photocells. I soldered them together in a little arrangement and there’s a large amount of wires coming out of the back,” he explains on YouTube.
As noted by Amateur Photographer, the 48 photocells are connected to a complex analog multiplexer, which links to an Arduino microcontroller. Through this system, Sanchez can get each photocell to send a number that represents a pixel value. The pixel value is sent to a python code which in turn generates a 640×480 image.
“I”m just doing grayscale because you can’t measure colors with photocells,” explains Sanchez.
The camera is constantly taking photos as the photocells receive light on its sensitive surface. In the video, Sanchez generates one of the images and agrees that the resulting image “doesn’t look like anything at all.”
Capturing Objects on a Terrible Camera
To prove that it’s actually working, Sanchez shines a light source at the camera and the resulting images have far lighter pixel squares, showing that the basic camera is at least reading its surroundings somewhat.
To further illustrate the camera’s capability, Sanchez puts a pen diagonally across the photocell array with the resulting image showing a row of dark pixels stretching across the images where the pen was.
Sanchez tried to get other shapes beamed onto the images, such as a triangle. His photo creation may not look great, but at least it works.
“It doesn’t have a lens or anything which might make it be able to take better pictures. Also, we could adjust the resistor [photocells] value to make it more or less sensitive that could be helpful as well,” he says.
“But right now I believe we have created the very worst camera that has ever been made in human history.”
More of Sanchez’s can be found on YouTube.