World’s tiniest camera the size of a grain of salt
PRINCETON, N.J. — The world’s smallest camera, the size of a grain of salt, may soon be coming to mobile phones everywhere. Computer scientists from Princeton University and the University of Washington say the small device they created can take crisp, full-color pictures just as well as conventional cameras which are 500,000 times bigger.
The new technology may help doctors to diagnose and treat diseases far less invasively than traditional endoscopy can today. It will also make imaging better, as thousands of tiny devices could cover the whole surface of a smartphone to become one giant camera
Traditional cameras use several curved glass or plastic lenses to bend light rays into focus, but the new device uses a “metasurface” which developers can make just like a computer chip. The metasurface is just half a millimeter wide and is made up of 1.6 million tiny posts, which are all shaped like cylinders but none of them look exactly the same.
When the antennae-like tiny posts interact with light, with the help of algorithms, they produce better pictures and capture a wider frame of view than any full-color metasurface camera created so far. The metasurfaces are made from silicon nitride, a glass-like material which can be manufactured easily and produced more cheaply than lenses in conventional cameras.