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posted by Fnord666 on Wednesday June 28 2017, @08:37PM   Printer-friendly
from the seeing-clearly dept.

Caltech has created a camera without a lens:

Traditional cameras—even those on the thinnest of cell phones—cannot be truly flat due to their optics: lenses that require a certain shape and size in order to function. At Caltech, engineers have developed a new camera design that replaces the lenses with an ultra-thin optical phased array (OPA). The OPA does computationally what lenses do using large pieces of glass: it manipulates incoming light to capture an image.

[...] "Here, like most other things in life, timing is everything. With our new system, you can selectively look in a desired direction and at a very small part of the picture in front of you at any given time, by controlling the timing with femto-second—quadrillionth of a second—precision," says Ali Hajimiri, Bren Professor of Electrical Engineering and Medical Engineering in the Division of Engineering and Applied Science at Caltech, and the principal investigator of a paper describing the new camera. The paper was presented at the Optical Society of America's (OSA) Conference on Lasers and Electro-Optics (CLEO) and published online by the OSA in the OSA Technical Digest in March 2017.

"We've created a single thin layer of integrated silicon photonics that emulates the lens and sensor of a digital camera, reducing the thickness and cost of digital cameras. It can mimic a regular lens, but can switch from a fish-eye to a telephoto lens instantaneously—with just a simple adjustment in the way the array receives light," Hajimiri says.

Does this have implications for astronomy?

"The applications are endless," says graduate student Behrooz Abiri (MS '12), coauthor of the OSA paper. "Even in today's smartphones, the camera is the component that limits how thin your phone can get. Once scaled up, this technology can make lenses and thick cameras obsolete. It may even have implications for astronomy by enabling ultra-light, ultra-thin enormous flat telescopes on the ground or in space."

Okay.

Paper: An 8x8 Heterodyne Lens-less OPA Camera


Original Submission

 
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  • (Score: 2) by Some call me Tim on Wednesday June 28 2017, @11:19PM (2 children)

    by Some call me Tim (5819) on Wednesday June 28 2017, @11:19PM (#532687)

    I've already submitted my patent for "Phased Array Optical System for Flattening People Trying to Take Flattering Selfies"
    ;-)

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  • (Score: 2) by bob_super on Wednesday June 28 2017, @11:24PM (1 child)

    by bob_super (1357) on Wednesday June 28 2017, @11:24PM (#532689)

    I've got prior art, courtesy of my "Anvil, 10-ton weight, Grand Piano, Bank Safe, Steamroller Delivery System for Flattening People Trying to Take Selfies".
    You wouldn't believe the over-broad clauses I got away with. They even cover "with a computer".