Gigapixel Camera Catches the Smallest Details
One-billion-pixel snapshots offer researchers high-resolution view of dynamic processes.
A Nature paper, reported on in The Wall Street Journal, talks of a camera made from off-the-shelf electronics that can take snapshots of one billion pixels each — about one thousand times larger than images taken by conventional cameras.
David Brady, an engineer at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, and his colleagues are developing the AWARE-2 camera with funding from the United States Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. The camera’s earliest use will probably be in automated military surveillance systems, but its creators hope eventually to make the technology available to researchers, media companies and consumers.
The camera is described in Nature1 (see links below), in a paper that includes some of its images. One snapshot shows a wide view of Pungo Lake, part of the Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge in North Carolina. In a compressed version of the entire image, no animals are visible. But zooming in reveals a group of swans; going in closer still makes it possible to count every bird on and above the lake.
Instant access to the paper ($32) at http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v486/n7403/full/nature11150.html