Sunday, January 23, 2011

Gigapixel Camera Revealed: Sci Am

Scientific American reported on the making of gigapixel imaging cameras requiring special software such as google Earth to view.  The article, which references large format photography and film, mentions the use of array relay lenses, as glowingly depicted here.

Focal plane photography, in any form we know it today, such as 1. film and chemical and 2. electronic array, are actually quite similar, and not very different from each other, except the electrochemical processes have been replaced by electronic processes and image map generation.

It is still a lens that projects a little image of an outside scene onto something. The smallest digi right up to the biggest 20X24 and even space telescopes use projection to organize light and dark onto coordinates.

Focal plane photography will one day be replaced by surface array imaging, or lenseless cameras, as they will be likely called at first, enabling surfaces and people to capture entire visual and IR (and maybe THz) scenes discreetly, continuously, and rather completely with depth and other information, to use and process as needed. It will be fun to have ubiquitous recordings of some people's entire lives, and it will have legal, social and economic consequences for sure.

Until that time, we have to struggle with flat films or sensors of various kinds such as CCDs, CMOS arrays, and other pixelated, light sensitive surfaces such as so-called photographic films with small silver halide specks that can turn light or dark when exposed to light.  These are OK for now, but will seem quaint in the future.

The Gigapixel Camera story, linked here, is a good start toward that end, but it is only the start of what will still be a long journey of decades. It does help put what we do into perspective though,  and all the more reason for us to use the gigapixel cameras we already own!  They went through a lot of trouble to get the image below, if you read the story. It's impressive, I guess. Or is it?

Or, how about something you can get and do today with digis? The Gigapan, discussed and presented here, is worth looking at, and very interesting.


Anonymous said...

This article went over the heads of your readers.

Anonymous said...

Your head, I assume.